INDIAN TRAIL – Steve Sileo realized a few weeks ago that people were going to struggle feeding their families with no money coming in. Instead of thinking about himself, he launched a series of good deeds at Sileo’s New York Deli.
Sileo calls the campaign the “Gift of Giving.” After explaining his vision to a couple of friends, he had $5,000 in donations within a day to help with the effort.
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The Gift of Giving involves delivering lunch daily to children who get free meals from Union County Public Schools. About 15 to 20 volunteers help with the effort.
He and others have been arriving at the restaurant as early as 4:30 a.m. preparing to distribute meals to children or picking up product from the store. They’ve served as many as 160 children on a given day.
Sileo’s New York Deli gave away free sandwiches to children between 10 a.m. and noon last Sunday. The day prior, the deli donated eight pizzas to the community. Sileo has also fed 80 people at the Union County Community Shelter.
One day this week, he wanted to spread the Gift of Giving to seniors. His 17-year-old son and one of his workers visited the Harris Teeter to give eight seniors $50 each to help pay for their groceries.
“The Gift of Giving is helping your neighbors, helping a person you work with – it’s just helping people right now,” Sileo said. “There’s just so much negativity that we need to have some positive.”
And who better to deliver that positive energy than Steve Sileo. He has coached youth baseball and flag football, as well as donated a percentage of store proceeds on spirit nights to Girl Scout troops and schools.
Mayor Michael Alvarez describes Sileo as a hero for his selfless giving.
Sileo has been in the Indian Trail community for years. Before he made sandwiches, he sold bagels for five years.
He credits developer Dennis Moser for taking him under his wing and helping him open the popular deli at Sun Valley Commons.
“The Moser Group really started the Gift of Giving by giving me the opportunity to help the community,” Sileo said.
Sileo runs the deli with a small staff. His mindset is to get customers in and out of the store as quickly as possible through their takeout. The deli has also had curbside service in place for over a year now.
If Sileo didn’t enjoy making sandwiches so much, he’d probably be a gym teacher. Making sandwiches for children who need them feels about as natural for Sileo as ham and cheese.
“I couldn’t ask for anything more,” he said.
Want to go?
Sileo’s New York Deli is located at 6449 Old Monroe Road.
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