THE FOOD DRIVE (L-R): Max Allen and Cory Allen, volunteers for The Food Drive; Richie Talieri, owner of Giacomo’s; and Jana Gimenez, Executive Director for The Food Drive.


MELROSE — The Food Drive, a community-driven hunger relief and food rescue nonprofit based in Melrose, celebrates three years of hot meal donations from Giacomo’s Melrose and owner Richie Talieri. Meals are delivered on Wednesdays by the father/son volunteer team of Cory and Max Allen to the Broadway Inn Motel Shelter in Malden run by the nonprofit Housing Families. In a short ceremony Monday night during a Melrose Rotary event, Melrose Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Stephanie Nelson presented Richie, Cory and Max with citations from State Representative Kate Lipper-Garabedian and the Massachusetts House of Representatives.

Richie began donating in March 2021 after an email inquiry from a volunteer from The Food Drive, now board member Liane Cassavoy. “This is something we can do,” he wrote back and immediately began donating monthly hot meals to the shelter program on Wednesdays. In May 2021, thanks to a generous 2021 Small Business Grant from Eastern Bank, Richie increased his donation to twice monthly and has continued ever since. March 2024 marks three full years of donations from Richie and his team at Giacomo’s for a total of 1800 meals.

Simultaneously and serendipitously, Cory Allen reached out to The Food Drive in early 2021 seeking a weekly volunteer opportunity for him and his son Max, who was then entering his freshman year at Melrose High School…on Wednesdays. Since then, Cory and Max have delivered almost all the meals to the shelter from Giacomo’s, taking only a couple of Wednesdays off for vacations. The father/son team has also delivered meals donated by Bobby C’s Ristorante, Buckalew’s General Store and the Melrose Community Freezer program.

“Richie, Cory and Max are incredible examples of service in action in our community. With one in three people in Massachusetts struggling with food insecurity, there is no ‘us’ and ‘them’ only US. Ending hunger means taking care of each other and that is exactly what this gift of meals from Giacomo’s and the gift of Cory and Max’s time are doing. As Richie said three years ago…this is something we can do,” said Jana Gimenez, The Food Drive’s Executive Director.

As of December 2023, The Food Drive’s Hot Meals Program includes twice-monthly deliveries from La Qchara Melrose, which means shelter guests now receive a hot meal every Wednesday. The nonprofit hopes to expand this program to other motel shelters in the future. For information about The Food Drive’s work, visit