SD businesses and restaurants donate meals


Jaclyn Levine

Restaurant news

Jaclyn Levine, Staff Writer

 While some laid-off San Diegans are struggling to have enough food, local nightclubs and restaurants are organizing meal donations. As first responders and hospital workers are tirelessly working and putting themselves at risk of contracting Covid-19, local businesses are delivering free meals to hospitals. Various restaurants in San Diego have banded together to meet food insecurity for the recently laid-off employees in their communities.


Rich’s, a San Diego nightclub, is organizing food drives for local bar, club, and restaurant workers who became unemployed when their businesses were forced to shut down. The nightclub had to lay off all 50 of its employees, so they understood that people who work in the food industry were in need of help. Citizens generously donated the funds through Venmo for Rich’s to buy meals from another local restaurant, Lestat’s, since the dance club does not have its own  kitchen. Rich’s has given about a hundred meals per week, for the past three weeks, to those struggling to pay for food. 


Rich’s  Event Organizer, Ryan Bedrosian, says the loss of jobs is unfortunate but understandable because social contact has to be limited to avoid the spread of the virus. As disappointed as Rich’s San Diego, a predominantly LGBTQ club, is by having to close and let employees go, another loss for the community is the cancellation of the annual Pride parade in July. Pride is a large  and important celebration, it would have given people a much needed boost; it would have been something positive to look forward to in  this dismal time. As Bedrosian said of the parade, “The amount of happiness and love is overwhelming.” In this time of uncertainty, the meal donations are a genuine demonstration of Rich’s love for their community.   


Ritsa Chanthabandith, owner of PadThai Restaurant in Escondido, is cooking free meals and delivering them to local hospitals for the dedicated first responders, doctors, and nurses who are working long hours, putting themselves at risk of contracting the virus. The first meals were delivered to Pomerado Hospital in San Marcos in mid-March and PadThai has since extended their deliveries to hospitals and clinics in Temecula and Escondido. Medical professionals were given freshly made fried rice, Thai basil stir-fry, and Pad See-ew. The restaurant will continue to provide meals to hospitals every Tuesday, Saturday, and Sunday until May 31. 


PadThai was forced to lay off about half of their employees but was able to keep some of their workers to prepare and cook the  meals, as well as cooking for take-out business. Chanthabandith says the spread of the virus and having to quarantine was scary and unexpected, but she knew she had to help her community in any way she could.


Sugar and Scribe Restaurant and Bakery in La Jolla is supporting our local first responders and hospital staff by making boxed lunches thanks to  customer donations. Sandwiches for Superheroes, which keeps some of the bakery employees working to prepare the meals, shows how tough times like these can bring out the best in people. 200 croissant sandwiches, and 200 salads were delivered to three local hospitals, Scripps La Jolla, Sharp Mira Mesa and Sharp Memorial. The superheroes saving lives at UCSD Cancer Center were also gifted with cookie care packages. Owner Chef Maeve Rochford, winner of the Food Network’s holiday baking championship, arranged to make healthy meals but noted the need for baked treats as well in times like these. Rochford said on her webpage, “Eating cake has been proven to bring joy.” Sugar and Scribe was forced to close to dine-in customers, but is still open for take-out food and goodies.


In hard times like these, when fellow friends and neighbors are struggling, seeing positive efforts like these three restaurants donating food, demonstrates that in bad times San Diegans come together to help their communities with generous acts of charity.