Present times have become worrisome and unfortunate for many. The COVID-19 crisis has resulted in many layoffs that have put people in uncomfortable financial situations leading to food insecurity and the inability to pay bills. However, through adversity, the San Mateo County and Silicon Valley community has come together, and many of our local partners are doing their best to give back. We wanted to showcase how our community is getting involved and providing community support for those who need it the most during this time.

Located in Redwood City, La Viga Seafood & Cocina Mexicana has been a staple in downtown for many years. The restaurant has been very popular for visitors and locals alike, and the community has always shown them love. During this crisis, Chef Manuel and his staff have decided to flip it and show love to those in need. The restaurant is now offering free to-go meals to unemployed service industry workers. The meals are available Monday through Saturday from 2:00 PM - 4:00 PM. The restaurant asks that people who need this service please call in advance to request a meal at 650.679.8141. The food will be ready for pick-up at the restaurant located at 1722 Broadway. A portion of La Viga’s overall sales is being allocated to pay the restaurant’s out-of-work hourly staff. 

Moving south to Palo Alto, Rocco Scordella, COO of Vina Enoteca and Tootsies, was facing challenging times before his great idea to help the community came to life. After making the tough decision to close his restaurant during these unprecedented times, he decided to start a program called “Adopt-a-Nurse”, with the goal of providing meals to those working long hours at the hospital. His restaurant’s website currently offers two menus - a $60 breakfast menu and a $100 lunch menu, each providing enough meals for 10 people. Everything is made fresh and in-house daily. “We wanted to make the prices accessible to support those working on the frontline. It is also a great way to keep our employees working. We had someone donate a whole weeks’ worth of breakfast and lunch! So far we’re at 2,340 meals in just five days. It’s really amazing,” said Scordella. They have also been making meals for the hospital cleaning crews, as well as those conducting COVID-19 tests, those working in the emergency room and NICU. “It’s teamwork more than anything, and it puts a smile on their face.” If you're looking for ways on how to help medical professionals, please email catering@tootsiesbarn.com.

Another great story comes from our friends at Taste Catering. With events being canceled throughout the San Francisco Bay Area, Taste decided to make a difference. Since the company is not able to offer food delivery options, Taste Catering decided to focus on providing meals for those in need and unemployed. They developed “Hospitality Helps,” which will immediately employ furloughed food service workers while providing meals to service the Bay Area. The catering company also intends to create meal packages that may be picked up at various distribution points in Millbrae, which can then be brought home to re-heat and enjoy. Taste Catering is equipped to produce about 10,000 meals a day, and they are looking for those who are able to sponsor and graciously lend a helping hand. They are also partnering with Meals on Wheels SF which allows your donation to be tax-deductible. If interested in helping, please make checks payable to “Meals on Wheels SF”, note them as "Hospitality Helps" and mail them to 1375 Fairfax Avenue, San Francisco, CA  94124.

Last but definitely not least, we have Bay Watch Eats. The restaurant has combined efforts with the community to help feed the medical staff at Mills-Peninsula Medical Center. For $100, you are able to feed 10 medical professionals. Bay Watch is offering three types of meals - a traditional breakfast (scrambled eggs, hash browns, wheat toast), a sandwich meal (BLT and French fries) and a salad meal (Caesar salad and garlic pita bread). All orders will be prepared and delivered on Fridays and Saturdays, with deliveries twice a day at 9:30 AM and 12:30 PM. To order, please email baywatchburlingame@gmail.com or call 650.692.2226 to leave a voicemail.

We hope these stories helped brighten your day and inspire you to help those in need. During times like this, it is a good reminder that our community is stronger when we stand together. If you know about any other business going above and beyond, please let us know and we will make sure to spread the message!