Testo, Matto feed Shelton hungry families during coronavirus pandemic

SHELTON — A Stratford chef and Matto Wine Bar joined forces Tuesday to feed more than 100 families.

Andrew Testo, owner of his own catering business, and the staff at Matto prepared and distributed 135 free meals of penne vodka with grilled chicken and homemade bread, curbside at the restaurant, 389 Bridgeport Ave.

Testo made enough for families to take two servings each. With the food distributed so quickly, what was to be a two-hour event ended about 30 minutes early.

"Aside from Matto supporting my foundation and allowing us to use their facilities, the true benefit is yet to be known for them,” said Testo, “however I’m sure the citizens of the community will reciprocate.”

This is the latest free food distribution organized by Testo as part of his charitable organization, Let Our Village Eat. Testo said he is always looking for restaurants and commercial kitchens not currently using their facilities but would like to team up to serve meals with curbside pickup.

“This event was a true success at many levels,” said Testo. “Matto participated in an act of humanitarianism that sometimes goes unnoticed by the citizens at large.”

Testo also credited members of Bronson Country Club for their donations and support of the event.

“These are unprecedented times … businesses are closed, people are losing their jobs,” said Testo, who is a graduate of Fairfield College Preparatory School. “This is a chance to help the community. People need to eat, and I have the skills to give to people in need or who just need a meal. This is a chance to pay it forward.”

As the coronavirus spread into Connecticut, state precautions forced the closure of schools, nonessential businesses and in-house dining at restaurants, Testo reached out to several of his contacts in the food service industry about teaming up to feed people affected by the virus.

Testo has several more food distribution events in the works, including one for Bridgeport police and firefighters only scheduled for April 26 at Rum and Tequila Restaurant, 211 State St., Bridgeport.

He has another planned for emergency department workers at St. Vincent’s Hospital set for April 27 at The Castle on Post Road in Fairfield.

The next community event will be May 5 at Olive and Oils Restaurant, 318 Roosevelt Drive, Seymour. Testo said he will be hand tossing pizzas which will be given free to people in a first-come, first-served basis. It will be only curbside pick-up, and he plans to make some 100 servings.

“This is a perfect way to give back to our community,” said Testo, adding that he and his small group of volunteers have fed, to date, more than 1,000 people in Fairfield and New Haven counties. “This crisis has no boundaries. Together we can overcome.”

For more information on the organization, visit www.letourvillageeat.com.