Despite all current challenges faced by the city’s dining industry, one Manhattan cheesesteak staple is still going the whole nine yards to ensure that local children have something to smile about this holiday season.
Wogies, a Philadelphia-themed bar operating out of both the West Village and Financial District partnered with Children’s Aid, a south Bronx-based nonprofit, for a holiday toy drive which will bring gifts to foster children, youth with special needs and other underserved kids not only in the Bronx but throughout New York City.
Accepting donations until Friday, Dec. 18, donors need not make a trip into Manhattan as monetary collections will also be accepted through messaging Wogies Instagram by longtime staff member, Luchana Gatica.
However, if you do head to a Wogies location with a toy or contribution in hand, there is a free beer in it for you.
Gatica, who is spearheading the toy drive has also volunteered to go out and purchase toys for those who make financial contributions – so far they have raised nearly $1,000 in toys and money, she said.
After doing some research, she felt compelled to work with Children’s Aid as it operates within the nation’s poorest congressional district, saying she couldn’t even fathom the “deep impact on mental health” that kids under those circumstances have felt throughout this year.
This toy drive is one of many charitable actions that Wogies and owner Aaron Hoffman has done throughout the seemingly cursed year of 2020.
During the first dining shutdown, Wogies offered free food to those in the service industry as well as their own employees in addition to donations to essential workers as well as discounts to NYPD and FDNY members.
This second wave of a dining closedown is particularly frustrating to the cheesesteak bar as Hoffman, like many other small businesses, invested heavily into a new air filtration system, heaters and a large-scale, comfortable outdoor setup paired with televisions for Sunday football and other events.
“It’s important to support businesses who have been jumping through hoops,” Gatica said, adding that they are “staying open for employees as much as for customers.”
On the culinary side of things, look no further than Wogies for New York City’s most prized cheesesteak, wings voted to be some of the region’s best, and plenty of other one-of-a-kind treats like garbage bread, which comes from its unique, onsite industrial oven.
Also available is a half cheesesteak and buffalo chicken concoction, garnished with both a chipotle cheddar wiz and white American cheese, which was named for this reporter.
Wogies will also be doing another drive along with the United States Marine Corps and Toys For Tots this holiday season.