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‘Capital Region Gives Back’ Honoree Dominick Purnomo Appears on MSNBC

Purnomo, who co-founded Feed Albany, was interviewed by Chris Jansing, formerly of WNYT Albany.

Dominick Purnomo, co-founder and chairman of the board of directors at Feed Albany. (Dori Fitzpatrick)

You probably knew her when she went by Chris Kapostasy and was the prime-time news anchor for NBC’s local affiliate, WNYT. Now at MSNBC, Chris Jansing, as she’s now known (it’s not a pen name; it’s her married name), is a big deal, serving as a senior national correspondent. And, as a recent story confirms, she has never forgotten her roots.

On December 15, Jansing reported a story on the after-effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, specifically, the number of people in the US who might go hungry as a result of joblessness and other factors (per Feeding America, one in six Americans or 50 million people, could suffer from food insecurity this year). Focusing in on what Americans are doing to help counteract food insecurity, Jansing conducted a feature interview with recent Capital Region Gives Back honoree Dominick Purnomo, who is the president of and co-founded Feed Albany, an organization that has set out to feed those who have been adversely affected by the pandemic, some of whom are unemployed restaurant employees and hospital staffers. (You can learn more about Purnomo’s amazing organization here.) “It was a big effort,” Purnomo told Jansing. “It started when restaurants were shut down across the country, many of us had refrigerators full of food that was going to spoil, so it began with just cleaning out our refrigerators, cleaning out our freezers, because our naïveté was that maybe this was going to last four weeks or six weeks, not 40 [weeks].”

Of course, Purnomo is himself in the local restaurant business, serving as wine director and co-owner of his family’s Albany restaurants, Yono’s and dp An American Brasserie, and Jansing also asked him about whether he thought his businesses would be able to make it through the pandemic winter without federal relief. “This is a matter of survival,” he told Jansing. “Ten percent of the US workforce works in restaurants. That’s 16.1 million people. We had 600,000 restaurants at the beginning of this pandemic, [and] we’ve lost over 10,000 so far. It’s only going to get worse this winter; many of us were able to survive on outdoor dining, we were able to survive on takeout and things like that, but the industry is holding on by a thread, and that thread is fraying heavily.” (Watch Purnomo’s full interview with Jansing here.)

Purnomo couldn’t have chosen a better week to get the word out, with restaurants’ outdoor dining now blanketed in a mountain of snow across the Capital Region.

For those interested in giving to Feed Albany, click here.

Will Levith

Will Levith is Editorial Director at Saratoga Living and Capital Region Living magazine. He's a native Saratogian and graduate of Saratoga Springs High School. His work has been published by Esquire, Playboy, Condé Nast Traveler, Men's Health, RealClearLife and many others. He lives in Troy with his wife, Laura, and dog, Esopus.

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