St. Anthony’s Padua Dining Room receives 500 meals purchased by Facebook

by Linda Hubbard on March 1, 2021

Five hundred meals purchased by Facebook from Tacos Toluco were delivered to St. Anthony’s Padua Dining Room in Menlo Park this morning. Recipients will get a meal along with a bag of groceries.

Since March 2020 when shelter-in-place restrictions were put in place in San Mateo County, St. Anthony’s Padua Dining Room has pivoted to a to-go only format.

“Although the change went fairly smoothly, we initially incurred significant expenses,” said Rickey Ono, Chair of St. Anthony’s Advisory Council. “Pre-COVID-19 when we served our clients in our dining room, we didn’t allow take-out meals at all. Therefore, we didn’t have take-out containers, plastic utensils, masks, individual drinks, bags, and individual fruits.

“Over time, Second Harvest (one of our primary sources of food) started to provide containers and individual drinks. We have also been fortunate for the generosity of food vendors who have excess supply of items due to closed or scaled down customers. For example, Aramack, who provides drinks and snacks for vending machines, donates numerous pallets of items. Similarly with companies that provide airline food.

“Facebook has been generous in providing meals to us through funding local mom-and-pop restaurants. We have a similar arrangement with Greylock Partners in Menlo Park. This model is a win-win-win to help businesses help businesses to help those in the community experiencing food insecurity.”

St. Anthony’s has seen an increase in the number of people that it serves, as much as 48%. The numbers fluctuate based on shelter-in-place restrictions (more stringent, easing), schools opening, government relief, and unemployment extensions. You can support St. Anthony’s operations with a donation.

According to a Facebook spokesperson, the social media company will purchase more than 20,000 meals this year from 50 local restaurants and donate them to local food banks, food pantries, homeless shelters, frontline healthcare workers and others working to address food stability needs.

In addition to today’s donation, Facebook will purchase 1500 additional meals this week from various restaurants and will donate them to other organizations.

Photos by Robb Most (c) 2021

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