In the latest Around Town column, news about restaurants and organizations making sure people in need are fed during the coronavirus pandemic, and how music is bringing people together while many shelter at home.
FEEDING THOSE IN NEED … Two Palo Alto restaurants, Taverna and Tootsie's, sprang into action to organize donation efforts to provide free food to people in need, from local families and school bus drivers to hospital workers. Greek restaurant Taverna is serving an average of 70 free meals per day, funded by community donations, and has partnered with the Ravenswood Education Foundation, the Boys & Girls Club of the Peninsula and other charitable organizations to find families in need. People in need also can pick up free meals at Taverna, no questions asked. Tootsie's at the Stanford Barn, meanwhile, has served more than 3,000 meals to Stanford Hospital and Lucile Packard Children's Hospital Stanford staff through donations for the restaurant's "Adopt A Doc and A Nurse" menu. The donation efforts also are helping the restaurants keep more staff employed as they struggle to remain in business during the shelter-at-home order. To donate to Taverna's effort, go to bit.ly/39myWmn. Call 650-304-3840 to request a meal for yourself or others in need. To order a meal for hospital staff through Tootsie's, email email@example.com or text 347-633-7132.
SINGING BEFORE SUPPER ... Listen carefully in the Barron Park neighborhood these days and you just might hear the sounds of singing. Since the stay-at-home order went into effect on March 17, residents have come together (keeping a safe distance, mind you) to express solidarity through song, said longtime resident Maryanne Welton. On Sunday, people participated in the "La Selva Sunday Spring Sing," coming out of their homes on La Selva Drive to join in a rendition of "Stand By Me." On another day, neighbors put a speaker at an intersection and blasted music. "I went over and sang and danced," Welton said. And she herself has taken to trying to spread joy during the quarantine by turning up the speakers in her garage at 6 p.m. most days as an invitation to others to a moment of song. "Sometimes people pass by and join in. Others, they look at me strangely and cross to the other side of the street," Welton laughed. On Wednesday, one man brought out his mandolin and played in the street. "We all need something to make ourselves feel connected and not alone," she said. "We all need support from our community to get through this. We're creating a tapestry of shared experiences to comfort us now. I think good can come out of this."
STAYING FRESH … Downtown Streets Team's food closet is staying stocked with fresh groceries to help a community in need during the coronavirus pandemic. According to the organization's senior manager, David Vyfvinkel, the downtown food closet has received two to three times more fresh produce than usual thanks to donations from various organizations, including Trader Joe's and Second Harvest Food Bank. Besides a few newcomers from the South Palo Alto Food Closet, which is currently closed, the team is serving fewer clients than usual. "We usually have about 60-75 people on any given day," Vyfvinkel said. "Now we're getting 40 to 45." He and two volunteers who were operating the food closet on Tuesday wore masks and gloves while they handled food. To keep 6 feet of distance, Vyfvinkel said they now make visitors wait outside while they fill people's grocery bags with food and bring them outside. The food closet is open Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.; Thursday from 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.; and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Find comprehensive coverage on the Midpeninsula's response to the new coronavirus by Palo Alto Online, the Mountain View Voice and the Almanac here.