Berkeley Restaurant’s ‘Adopt a Doc/Nurse’ Initiative to Provide Poke Bowls to Healthcare Workers

poke

Berkeley, California restaurant Poke Parlor launched an initiative called Adopt a Doc/Nurse to provide nutritious meals to East Bay health care workers and first responders currently risking their lives to save patients suffering from COVID-19.

Image via Poke Parlor/Walter Mak

Walter Mak, one of Poke Parlor’s owners took to Facebook on Tuesday to talk about the initiative and supporting the community. The restaurant offers healthy meat, vegetarian and seafood meal options at $13/meal, with every donated meal going directly to a healthcare worker or first responder in Alameda County. Mak said their goal is to provide meals to a hospital(s) for at least 7 days.

Since then, Mak and Jeff Wang (co-owner), are actively posting on their restaurant’s Instagram page, detailing the process. They started with a modest stretch goal of $130 for 10 meals to a chosen recipient organization, having blown past it within 24 hours. San Leandro ER Hospital is the first they’re working with.

In their original Instagram post with the informative flyer, the founders gave their donators the option to vote on which organization and department they would like to see the meals donated to. They would then randomly choose a recipient or multiple recipients from the votes, to determine the catering date, preferred meal options and number of meals based on the preference of the recipient organization.

Wang told NextShark about the need to create this initiative as not just a means of feeding the healthcare personnel on the frontline, but to keep the Poke Parlor staff employed as they remain open to the public.

“Local restaurants have been hit particularly hard in Berkeley as Cal’s spring semester was abruptly cut short. Most of the school’s population of 45,000 faculty and student members have left the area with the cancellation of classes,” he started. “Local non-essential businesses are now either closed or working from home, so most of our upcoming catering orders have been cancelled.”

Previous poke bowl winners. Image via Poke Parlor/Walter Mak

Poke Parlor is no stranger to the drop in sales as one of the many small businesses suffering crushing blows from COVID-19. Especially with the weather beginning to warm up, what would’ve been “the busiest time of year for local businesses has become unsustainably slow.”

“Prior to the start of the pandemic, we employed 20 full-time and part-time employees. With our deepest regrets, we have had to furlough the majority of them, many of whom have been on our team for several years,” he said.

Mak added that even with UC Berkeley’s campus closure, they still want to highlight the impact they could bring to the community through this economic distress and the ways they can contribute.

Mak said, “If you visit our Instagram @pokeparlor we are actively engaged with the UC Berkeley community, focusing on fundraising for campus organizations and encourage students to partake in our weekly giveaways.”

Poke Parlor is also offering a Super Donor option, where you can supply food for 10 individuals, with their tuna, salmon, BBQ chicken and veggie platter options. More details are posted on their Instagram and GoFundMe pages.

Feature Image via Poke Parlor

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