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Marla Aaron’s Jewelry Vending Machine at Rock Center to Benefit the Struggling Restaurant Community

The latest Marla Aaron Jewelry piece will be sold online and in her famed vending machine starting Feb 15.

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(PRESS RELEASE) NEW YORK — East Harlem resident and local jewelry designer Marla Aaron couldn’t help but be impacted by the state of the restaurant industry—the empty chairs stacked inside restaurants were particularly poignant. As a creator who is more “inventor” than “designer”, she knew she had to find a way to help. Googling “most common restaurant seat”, she was inspired by the simple comfort of such common chair to create a jewelry object in celebration of, and to benefit, restaurants and its people. The Chair, made in Sterling Silver, is 2” tall and can be worn on any chain as a necklace, or kept as a precious figurine. It sells for $250 with 100% of sales proceeds benefiting Chef José Andrés’ World Central Kitchen, a nonprofit organization that uses the power of food to heal communities and strengthen economies in times of crisis and beyond, and its initiatives such as “Restaurants for the People,” which attacks the growing hunger and economic crises on two fronts by paying local restaurants to cook fresh meals for their neighbors in need–at the same time getting food to hungry people and keeping restaurants and their teams open and working. The campaign is called “Take a Seat for Restaurants.”

To ensure the public will find it beyond the world of jewelry stores and websites and quite literally stumble upon it — Aaron and her team have customized their acclaimed jewelry vending machine which is to be stationed it in the heart of New York City at Rockefeller Center starting Feb 15.

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“I am a small business owner and the struggle over the last year was real and complex in the jewelry industry”, says Marla Aaron, “That said, our pain doesn’t even compare with how the restaurant industry has been challenged during the pandemic.” “It has been heartbreaking as a New Yorker but the same thing is playing out with restaurants around the world. I wanted to do something immediate and am thrilled to support World Central Kitchen. Their work with Restaurants for the People keeps restaurants open feeding people who are hungry—I can’t think of a better thing to do.”

During the COVID-19 pandemic, WCK has activated thousands of restaurants to feed marginalized and vulnerable communities as well as the medical professionals on the front lines. WCK’s ‘Restaurants for the People’ program addresses both the humanitarian and economic relief fronts of the pandemic by providing fresh meals to communities in immediate need while also keeping small restaurants and food businesses open.

Every element of the Take a Seat project came together swiftly with immense support from Aaron’s own jewelry community and beyond. Her silver supplier pledged to donate the silver for the first few hundred chairs. Marla Aaron retail partners throughout the country offered to sell the chairs in their stores — because no community has been spared. They will make no money off the sales either.

The vending machine will take to the streets of New York City for the first time, residing for a limited-time outdoors at 1 Rockefeller Plaza, located at Rockefeller Center’s South Plaza between 48th & 49th Streets and 5th & 6th Avenues, outside the Today Show Studio — a new thrill for the company who debuted it as an installation at the Brooklyn Museum in 2017 but always dreamt of bringing the “stumble upon” excitement of its fine jewelry vending machine to the streets of Manhattan. Yes the machine will dispense the actual products, gift-wrapped. No, it cannot be carried away or broken into.

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Beyond the vending machine, The Marla Aaron “Take A Seat” chair is also available for purchase at marlaaaron.com and select retailers nationwide at the Marla Aaron’s by-appointment showroom (37 W. 47th Street). All retail proceeds to benefit World Central Kitchen.

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