Celebrity chef Paul Wahlberg will park his food truck Friday in front of the YMCA in Lynn, the North Shore city hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.
He will be giving away Wahlburgers’ grab-n-go boxed meals to YMCA staff, residents and others around 11:45 a.m. at the facility on Neptune Boulevard.
Lynn, a city of about 90,000 people, had 3,281 cases of COVID-19, according to community data released Wednesday by the state.
The Lynn YMCA opened a homeless shelter in their building, and has provided around 4,500 free meals, and 20,000 diapers to the community in the past two months, said Senior Branch Director Andrea Baez.
When Wahlberg heard of their efforts, he offered to join in with Wahlburgers meals made to go,
“Paul is extremely philanthropic and cares about people and every time we engage with him, it’s about people. It’s not about him being famous, ” Baez said. “It’s touching and it’s moving and it’s powerful because everybody has a choice every single day of how they show up to the world and Paul Wahlberg is choosing to leverage his personal resources for good.”
Wahlberg is the brother of actors Mark and Donnie Wahlberg and the three Dorchester natives created the burger chain chain in 2011. Paul took a star turn in a reality tv series about Wahlburgers that ran for 10 years on the A & E network.
He first partnered with the Lynn YMCA in 2019 when their charity Alma Cares—named after their mother—provided Thanksgiving turkey boxes to the community. Since the pandemic hit, Baez said he has been assisting YMCAs around that state and also drove a food truck around Boston in April to give around 2,000 meals to first responders and medical workers.
Baez said they’ve been handing out prepackaged meals with sandwiches, fruit, and salad at the Lynn YMCA so having Wahlburgers will be “a little bit of a treat for everybody.”
Her only concern for the day is ensuring that everyone is following social distancing guidelines and wearing masks. YMCA staff will place markings on the ground to make sure residents stay a safe distance from each other.
“We are so happy that he is coming out to lend to say ‘Hey guys I see you for the work that you are doing'” she said. “Everybody at the Y shows up every day because it’s our job to serve people and to make our communities the best that we can."