YORKTOWN, N.Y. – Yorktown chef Michael Schmutzer wants everyone to enjoy healthy, nutritious meals. That’s why he’s running the Boston Marathon on Monday, April 21 to help achieve that goal by raising money for the Food Bank for Westchester .
“I wanted to raise awareness for the Food Bank and for how much help we need in Westchester County,’’ Schmutzer said. “The more people who know about the Food Bank for Westchester mission, the better it is for our community.”
Schmutzer, who has worked at Doral Arrowwood in Rye Brook and volunteered for the Food Bank for the past 15 years, has been the Executive Chef at Doral Arrowwood for the past seven years.
Schmutzer said 7.4 million pounds of food was distributed by the Food Bank last year to Westchester people in need, an astonishing figure given the affluence of the county. “It’s mind boggling,’’ Schmutzer said. “The need for food in Westchester keeps going up. You would think eventually it would go the other way. The number is just off the charts. In Westchester we do so many things really well, let’s help our community to overcome such disparity."
He planned to organize a fundraising effort for last year’s Boston Marathon to support the Food Bank, but never got it off the ground. After last year’s race, when he finished before bombs planted by terrorists killed three people at the finish line, Schmutzer connected with the Food Bank and started C.H.E.F. 26.2 to raise funds and awareness.
“I’m optimistic that we can go beyond our fundraising goal,’’ said Schmutzer, who set a target of $2,620 and has received nearly $2,000 so far. “It gives me more motivation. When you’re out on those 20-mile plus training runs, you hold on to pretty much anything you can to get through it. Running for the Food Bank gives it a meaningful goal, beyond time and personal records.”
Chef Schmutzer prepares meals at Doral Arrowwood with a minimum of waste, but sees people daily who toss out food that is perfectly fine. “As a chef and a person, it really bothers me,’’ he said. “On the corporate side, we’re really concerned about waste. We do whatever we can not to waste food."
He found running in 2009 with help from his wife, Debra. She started training for the Hartford Marathon in Connecticut, and he decided to join her. He was instantly hooked, and has completed nine marathons since.
Juggling family responsibilities and work makes training hard – “I’m the one with the headlamp on at 9:30 or 10 at night doing hill repeats in Yorktown,’’ he said – but he makes the commitment. Given the circumstances at Boston last year, it’s particularly important to him that he runs this year’s race.
“It’s going to be very emotional,’’ Schmutzer said. “But once you start running, you’ll do what you’re trained to do. I hope the crowds come out even more and don't let anything get in the way, the resilient, American way. Having a purpose will motivate me to do the best that I can.”
Readers can support Chef Schmutzer by making a donation through his fundraising page online .