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Salad prep with the newly founded Meals of Gratitude, which is delivering meals from Flea Street Cafe in Menlo Park to local health care workers. Photo courtesy of Jesse Cool.
Some local restaurants staying open for takeout and delivery have also committed to donating all or a portion of sales to support their staff. For more information, view this interactive map.
A list of restaurants raising funds for their own employees is also included at the bottom of this story.
Alice's Restaurant, Woodside
At Alice's Restaurant, customers can purchase gift cards that will be made available for other diners who can't afford to cover the cost of their meals. The restaurant raised about $1,000 on Sunday, March 22, in donated gift cards.
"What we're trying to do is get ahead of the curve here," said co-owner Andy Kerr. "We think that this is going to get worse financially for a lot of people in the area and that people are not going to have a lot of disposable income to eat."
Alice's Restaurant co-owner Jamie Kerr rings up customer Rachael Garcia on March 20, 2020. The restaurant is still open for takeout and limited deliveries. Photo by Magali Gauthier.
Kerr and his brother, Jamie, who together run the Woodside restaurant, have also fed several families in need at the restaurant out of their own pockets.
Purchasing gift cards also supports Alice's, where the owners have had to lay off two-thirds of their staff and those that remain are working scaled-back hours.
How to help: To purchase a gift card, go to Alice's in person or purchase online at alicesrestaurant.com.
Bay Watch Restaurant, Burlingame
Bay Watch Restaurant is closed but the owners, who have five family members who work in the medical field, are raising funds to deliver meals to the nearby Mills-Peninsula Medical Center. A $100 contribution will feed 10 medical professionals.
"As hospitals are running at a higher capacity than normal and with more restaurants closing due to lack of business, medical staff has less options and no time to order food to keep themselves properly nourished," said co-owner Kathleen Wong. "With programs like this, we can all combine our efforts to help support our community through these dire times."
How to help: Email Baywatchburlingame@gmail.com or call (650) 692–2226 to leave a voicemail. Provide your name, phone number, meal type and amount and best time to be contacted.
Bevri, Palo Alto
Georgian restaurant Bevri has joined the national Frontline Foods initiative to deliver meals to Stanford Hospital workers. A $100 donation provides a meal for five people.
How to help: To donate, go to bevri.com/help-a-doc-and-a-nurse.
Coffeebar, Menlo Park, Redwood City
At Coffeebar, drinks and pastries are free for medical professionals. People can also donate to support this effort by purchasing gift cards online and writing "FRONTLINES" in the notes.
How to help: To purchase a gift card, go to coffeebar.com.
#FeedTheNeed, Los Gatos
Flights Restaurants owner Alex Hult, in partnership with the Los Gatos Chamber of Commerce and other community organizations, started a fundraiser, #FeedTheNeed, to provide emergency financial relief to local employees and vulnerable residents of Los Gatos and surrounding neighborhoods. The funds will go to Los Gatos restaurant and retail workers who have lost their jobs due to the coronavirus crisis and to provide free meals to local nonprofits, food banks, shut-in senior citizens and low-income families in Los Gatos. They have raised more than $40,000 to date through a GoFundMe campaign and cash donations, Hult said, and are feeding between 400 to 600 people daily.
Hult is working with local service providers, churches and community organizations to identify people in need.
People older than 65 years old and affected restaurant employees can also pick up free meals that feed six people at Flights in Los Gatos (165 Saratoga-Los Gatos Road). Call 408-354-3434 for the meals.
Hult also launched this week a drive-thru, no-contact "grocery store" at the Los Gatos Flights. People can order items like milk, bread, eggs, alcohol, toilet paper and local food products from their cars and Flights staff will bring it to them curbside. The store is open daily from noon to 7 p.m.
How to help: To donate to the #FeedTheNeed fundraiser, go to gofundme.com. Donations can also be mailed to Los Gatos Chamber Hospitality Fund, 10 Station Way, Los Gatos, CA 95030.
Fundraiser for Second Harvest of Silicon Valley
Several Bay Area food businesses, including Noodles & Things in San Mateo and Millbrae, have partnered to raise money for the Second Harvest of Silicon Valley, which provides food to a quarter of a million people in Santa Clara and San Mateo counties every month.
"As the crisis continues, we expect to see an increase in need as businesses are shutting down and community members are losing their jobs, forcing them to deplete their savings while still providing for their family," the organizers wrote.
A $1 donation translates into enough food for two meals, they said. Anton SV Pâtisserie will match every donation up to $2,000.
How to help: To donate, go to facebook.com/fundraiser.
La Viga Seafood, Redwood City
La Viga is offering free to-go meals to unemployed service industry workers Monday-Saturday, 2-4 p.m. People should call the restaurant in advance to request a meal (650-679-8141) and can pick up at the restaurant, 1772 Broadway, Redwood City.
A portion of La Viga's overall sales are also being allocated to pay the restaurant's out-of-work hourly staff.
Meals of Gratitude, Menlo Park
Jesse Cool of Menlo Park restaurant Flea Street Cafe and a group of local residents founded Meals of Gratitude, a new nonprofit raising money to provide meals to Bay Area healthcare providers and support staff.
"Our providers are working so hard and being so brave for all of us," the organization's website reads. "Many of them are separating themselves from their families to protect them which in turn increases their burden and stress. We want to show them how much we as a community support them."
The group delivered its first 75 meals to Stanford Health Care workers this week.
The meals are made at Flea Street Cafe with local ingredients to support local farms, ranchers, dairies and other producers — and also help keep the staff needed to make the meals employed. Flea Street has been able to hire back nearly 75% of its full staff, Cool said.
All donations go towards labor and ingredients (and are tax-deductible).
How to help: To donate, go to mealsofgratitude.org.
Namesake Cheesecake, Menlo Park
Namesake Cheesecake will deliver donated cheesecakes, chocolate chip cookies and other baked goods to local hospital emergency rooms, respiratory units and other departments.
How to help: Call 650-833-9529 to donate an order.
Taverna, Palo Alto
Palo Alto Greek restaurant Taverna is accepting donations to provide free meals to people in need.
"We hope to serve anyone in need of a meal ... no questions asked," said co-owner Thanasis Pashalidis.
Taverna in Palo Alto is providing free meals to people in need. The effort is in turn helping the restaurant keep its staff employed. Photo by Magali Gauthier.
Taverna also partnered with the Ravenswood Education Foundation, which supports families and staff in the Ravenswood City School District in East Palo Alto, to deliver meals to food distribution staff, and the City of East Palo Alto to feed essential city workers and seniors.
The effort is also helping Taverna keep its staff employed at a time of crisis for the restaurant industry.
"Our community and our industry is an ecosystem. Bringing things full circle, these funds will allow us to employ our valued workforce, provide meals to our community and continue the supply chain with our vendors," Pashalidis said.
The meals include a half Greek roasted chicken, lemon oregano potatoes, tzatziki, homemade pita, salad, steamed local greens and rice pudding.
How to help: Call 650-304-3840 to request a meal for yourself or others in need. To donate, go to gofundme.com or call the same number and mention the "Taverna Family Meal fund."
Tootsie's at the Stanford Barn, Palo Alto
Tootsie's owner Rocco Scordella launched an "adopt a doctor and a nurse" menu to allow people to donate meals to staff at Stanford Hospital and Lucile Packard Children's Hospital. People can choose a specific department to send the food to and if not, the hospital will determine where it's most needed.
As of Sunday, March 22, Tootsie's had received donations for nearly 2,000 meals.
Scordella decided to close his other restaurant, Vina Enoteca, but keep Tootsie's open to serve the nearby hospital staff.
How to help: Email your order at email@example.com or text Scordella at 347-633-7132.
Tuba, Palo Alto
Tuba in downtown Palo Alto (535 Bryant St.) is offering free meals, no questions asked, to anyone in need on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The meal comes with chicken, rice, hummus and pita.
Wursthall, San Mateo
Kenji López-Alt of Wursthall in San Mateo is raising money to provide free meals to people in need, health care workers and first responders. He has been delivering meals to various organizations this week, including Second Harvest of Silicon Valley, Samaritan House San Mateo, Oakland Fire Training Center and the San Francisco General emergency room.
López-Alt is sharing on social media video recipes for the meals he's delivering to health care workers and others. (A recent one came with deviled egg salad sandwiches on Japanese shokupan, roasted broccoli with pumpkin seed vinaigrette and Austrian-style potato salad.)
How to help: To donate: go to patreon.com/kenjilopezalt. If you purchase any of his books, including his well-known "The Food Lab" or his new children's book, 100% of the sales commission will go to support the free meals.
GoFundMe campaigns for restaurant, bar staff:
• Avenir Restaurant Group, multiple restaurants (Nola, The Alpine Inn, Milagros, Town). The group's ownership team and vendors have committed to matching the first $50,000 they raise.
• Maum, Palo Alto
• Nighthawk, Redwood City
• Sun of Wolf, Palo Alto
• Tacolicious, multiple locations
• Zola, Palo Alto
• Fundraiser for Foothill College dining staff who were laid off due to the campus closure
• San Carlos small businesses