ALAMEDA, Calif. (KRON) – The city of Alameda has developed a program to address two pressing needs during the pandemic — Keep unsheltered and food-insecure residents fed, and local restaurants operational.

Limited staff and limited hours — an unhealthy business model for Cindy Kahl.

She co-owns Speisekammer restaurant in Alameda. Like all of the other mom and pops downtown, she says her business needs a break, while shelter-in-place restrictions remain in effect.

“Now, we’re back to, with just takeout and delivery, about 25-percent of what we did last year. So, and that’s just not survivable. We’re losing money basically every week,” Kahl said. 

Kahl doubles as president of the Downtown Alameda Business Association. She’s one of 38 restaurant owners to apply for the city’s new “Feed Alameda” program — A project that will help feed the hungry and also hopefully keep businesses afloat.

“Who doesn’t want to help out. Everybody’s suffering right now, and um, if we’re able to help with that, just makes it even better,” Kahl said. 

Starting Inauguration Day, for 10 weeks, the city will fund a different local mom and pop restaurant one day per week to prepare 90 meals priced at 25-dollars each.

Mayor Marilyn Ezzy Ashcraft says the meals will go to unsheltered residents, homeless people removed from the streets and placed in fema trailers during the pandemic and women and children in shelters.

“We know that our food bank, our city of Alameda food bank has seen an 18-fold increase in the number of people who come to pick-up their groceries every week, and we worry about the people who don’t even find their way to the food bank like our unsheltered population,” Ashcraft said. 

“It’s brilliant. I’ll be happy if we get chosen to participate,” Kahl said. 

With online contributions the city will raise from the public, the hope is “Feed Alameda” will continue through June.

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