Restaurants, startups and other local businesses that are giving back during the pandemic.
This global pandemic has affected every state across the United States and has been tragic for many mentally, financially and physically. But there is a light at the end of the tunnel and a silver lining along the way: Businesses in and around San Francisco are stepping up to make a difference when and where they can. The Golden Gate Restaurant Association has sadly predicted that 50 percent of eateries in the city will not reopen after the COVID-19 pandemic, but these San Francisco stores aren’t looking inwards. They are finding it in their hearts — and their pockets — to give back to the community and essential workers. Whether it’s a restaurant donating food, a service offering free meals or products or a startup actively hiring, these incredible teams are giving back. Here is a roundup of some San Francisco based-businesses that you can give extra love to — and thank — for going above and beyond for our city.
Bobby Jindal, the new owner of Basil Pizzeria, alongside his wife Mukti Jindal, has a personal connection and moving story behind his pandemic philanthropy. While he was working in the biotech industry with stroke medication, Bobby actually suffered from a stroke himself. He was in the ICU for two weeks and when he finally recovered he decided that he wanted to be his own boss. He left his job and bought Basil Pizzeria in the East Bay with his wife and co-owner. Less than three months into their new life chapter and business venture, the COVID-19 outbreak started. Rather than close up shop, they decided to give back to healthcare workers and others who helped save his life. Cognizant of the long hours these doctors and nurses are working, these two new parents and first-time restaurateurs have been providing free pizza kits for these essential workers and their families. Their goal is to donate 70 kits a week. Bobby told ABC7 News, "I feel like what goes around comes around and we're just looking forward to doing some good."
San Francisco-based Alto Pharmacy isn’t just a clever business — it’s a philanthropic one, too. This go-to online retail platform for prescription medication and medical advice launched a new program to pick up donations of critical personal protective equipment (PPE) and deliver them to hospitals in the Bay Area as well as other California and Washington cities. Alto Pharmacy has now coordinated over 100 donation pickups, handing out more than 3,700 masks and 13,500 gloves as well as protective goggles and major cleaning supplies to medical staff. Their efforts have benefitted those working the frontlines at facilities including Kaiser Oakland, San Ramon Regional Medical Center, St. Rose Hospital, Sutter Health Eden Medical Center ER, UCSF Mission Bay and Washington Hospital. If you are located within any of the areas that Alto covers and would like to help, you can fill out this form to request a donation pickup from Alto.
Andytown Coffee Roasters
There’s nothing like a warm drink or tasty treat to make your day, and that’s why San Francisco’s Andytown Coffee Roasters is delivering these very things to our healthcare heroes. Like many other businesses, this small roasting company has been financially impacted by the virus, but it’s taking back control for the greater good. They are now encouraging people to buy coffee, juice, granola bars and pastries that the coffee shop delivers daily to medical workers and specialty centers around the city. Due to the strict and understandable visitation policies of these medical facilities, hospitals and senior care homes, Andytown picks a couple each day and delivers one large order to each so that workers can distribute these treats inside the hospital. On the very first day of these donations, more than $20,000 worth of warm goodies and refreshments were purchased. The store says this is enough for them to make drop-offs to at least one frontline facility every day for the next two months. Good going! If you know a place in San Francisco that has been heavily impacted by COVID-19, fill out this form to send them a hot coffee and fresh pastry pick-me-up.
Another San Francisco-based tech company, 4iQ, is gearing up to do what they can during this time. This intelligence company is devoted to protecting digital identities and investigating cyber threats, adversaries and fraud to help reduce impact and financial losses. Their technology team has spent years diving under the surface of the deep and dark web for exposed, leaked, lost or stolen records. Right now, 4iQ is offering its services free of charge to hospitals that have been identified as being potentially compromised or attacked. Good on them!
Revolution Foods delivers ready-to-eat hot and cold meal kits for schoolchildren and families. They are currently working with various school districts and charter school networks across the United States to ensure children enrolled in school, especially students on a free or reduced lunch program, will continue receiving healthy meals at home. This Oakland-based service provides breakfast, snacks, lunch and dinner options such as spaghetti and meatballs, macaroni and cheese, turkey and cheese sandwiches, buffalo chicken sandwiches, chicken noodle and vegetable soups, chicken caesar salads and more. Truly revolutionary, the company has raised over $138 million.
Juni Learning is an e-learning company and online academy based in San Francisco. This savvy startup is donating $150,000 in tuition waivers to families of brave hospital workers on the frontlines who can’t be at home to help with their children’s education. Juni’s aim is to allow these kids to take part in their newly-launched small group classes, known as Juni Team Sessions, which are available for students ages 11-18. The startup is also actively hiring and providing job security to hundreds of university students from colleges around the country who would like to become coding instructors for this premier children and teen’s learning platform. Over the past couple of months, Juni Learning has seen a 400% increase in new student sign-ups for its online math and computer science classes. Taught and broadcasted in the safety of one's own home, these real-time classes give students at Stanford, Berkeley, the University of Texas and other schools the chance to flex their hard-earned education and gain invaluable experience, all while teaching the younger generation awesome and beneficial skills. Thanks to Juni Learning for continuing to enrich and give opportunities to our youth!
Blue Line Pizza
Voted "Best Pizza in Silicon Valley," Blue Line Pizza is also devoted to helping the many staffers at nearby hospitals by feeding them and putting a smile on their faces. Its seven locations across the Bay Area have donated over one thousand pizzas — all paid for out-of-pocket by the owners. Their goal is to give away 10,000 of their award-winning cornmeal crust deep dish and New York-style thin-crust pizzas to these vital workers. But it’s not just medical workers who are there for our communities right now. Angela Pace, one of the co-owners of Blue Line Pizza, said to ABC7 News, “There are frontline workers beyond healthcare workers. People at the post office or UPS drivers and grocery stores...etc." The pizzeria has even received photos of these frontliners posing with their pizzas. She added, "We just dug down and it's hard to be able to continue to do but we've recently started accepting donations.” If you’d like to support their mission, be sure to purchase a pizza pie for dinner or donate to their efforts.
The popular Italian restaurant, Che Fico, is known for its delicious food and long reservation waitlist. Now it’s busy for quite a different reason. Nightly, they allow people to line up outside and pick-up free food — no questions asked. Chef David Nayfeld started making 40 meals a night with donated funds from investor and former Twitter CEO Dick Costolo. Now, they are putting together 300 boxes a night. “We’ve been able to break down some of those barriers… maybe people were kind of embarrassed at first to say ‘Hey I’m on hard times right now and I could really use a meal,’” said David Nayfeld to CBS5. Customers can donate to the meals or order to-go through the Che Fico Family Meal. Nayfeld says that donations have reached over $30,000 so far, which has translated to Che Fico giving out over 3,000 meals and counting.
A Big Thank You
Missy Wyant Smit and her team thanks these local businesses and companies, and the many others doing great work during this tough time, for their kindness and all that they do for our city. Your contributions don’t go unnoticed. Keep making a difference!
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