When the Culinary Division had to cease operations a few weeks ago, it was a privilege and a joy to work alongside our culinary client to help donate all of the perishable food items across the country.
Flagship culinarians knew that we would not be operating corporate cafes for a while, but there was irony in the timing as it overlapped with the one-year anniversary of launching our Bay Area food donation program in partnership with Loaves & Fishes. As the COVID-19 epidemic spread, we knew it was more important than ever to continue finding ways for us to help support our local community who rely on food donations to feed their families.
We started reaching out to a few industry partners who have kitchens in their space to see if we could set up our donation operations at their sites, but of course given the health and safety liabilities surrounding the pandemic, we had to rethink our strategy.
We soon realized that we had an extraordinary opportunity to not only support our community members, but to also support local restaurants that were struggling to stay afloat with the sudden shelter-in-place requirements. After a few meetings, we decided to work with Back A Yard Caribbean American Grill and Mi Taqueria, both located just blocks away from headquarters. Each week, we would place two large quantity catering orders from the restaurants, that we would then package into individual meals, with the goal of serving families in the community.
Tuesday, April 7 was our first round of donations. Working with Back A Yard and Loaves & Fishes, our catering order of delicious signature dishes from the restaurant were transformed into 100 meals that were given out to families at Bishop Elementary School in Sunnyvale. Then on Thursday we did another round and were able to provide an additional 100 meals, this time to low-income and homeless residents that are supported by Hopes Corner in Mountain View and WeHope in East Palo Alto.
In total, we contributed 200 meals to those in need – and next week, we may exceed this number working with Mi Taqueria. Our plan is to continue this donation program for the next four weeks, switching off between the two restaurants.
We are thankful to the kitchen teams at Back A Yard and Mi Taqueria for making all of the food preparations with love, and to the entire team at Loaves & Fishes for their ongoing partnership and for driving these opportunities to give back.
May 8 – Update
In the month of April, we are proud to announce that we exceeded our goal and donated over 1,000 meals to local schools and non-profit agencies in the Bay Area!
As shelter-in-place was extended through May, we will continue these weekly donation efforts and continue working with BackAYard, Mi Taqueria and our partners at A La Carte/Loaves & Fishes to make it all happen!