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Oakland Restaurant Feeds Those in Need While Trying to Stay Afloat

The COVID-19 crisis has hit eateries especially hard, but an East Bay restaurant has launched an idea to help feed the homeless while keeping some employees working during shelter at home orders.

Luka’s Taproom and Lounge in Oakland has transformed into Luka’s Community Kitchen where meals are made by employees, packed to go and donated to partners like East Oakland Collective, who distributes them.

“Right now Luka's is going out and soliciting donations from individual donors, people we have relationships with, and using those funds to produce low-cost meals that are distributed by our non-profit partners out to various homeless camps,” said Rick Mitchell of Luka's.

The other benefit is that it helps the restaurant make ends meet and puts some employees back to work. They’ve had to furlough about 80% of their staff as people shelter at home.

“Our work has increased and expanded so the demand for food for people who are unhoused living in curbside communities has increased,” said said Candice Elder of East Oakland Collective.

They say the Oakland Chamber of Commerce has stepped up and there is an online fundraiser. They plan to add more restaurants to the community kitchen idea, bringing in support when it’s needed most.

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