Long Beach

Closed by a pandemic, the local wedding hall once began to serve homeless residents – Long Beach, California

Long Beach, California 2021-06-14 12:35:23 –

Ground staff preparing food for delivery to a local support housing facility on Thursday, May 27, 2021. Photo courtesy of: Grand.

When the pandemic broke out in March 2020, celebrations and rallies stopped badly. For event venues like The Grand, this meant that reservations were canceled or postponed and we were looking for an alternative source of income to keep the lights on.

Most of the venue’s income came from weddings, most of which was canceled or postponed.

“We were chasing whatever we could do,” said Grand Director Daniel Dasa. “Everyone was in survival mode.”

But D’Sa said he wasn’t just looking for a way to replace his income. He also wanted to help fellow residents of Long Beach. So he began to reach out to the city and called a dozen times to ask if he and his team could do anything to provide support.

“I just kept saying: this is Grand Dan, we want to get involved,” he remembers. “We didn’t see things as an opportunity to make money. We saw it as an opportunity to participate.”

To this day, Grand has served meals on the city’s room key and home key sites. The hotel has been a temporary housing for homeless residents for over a year. For D’Sa, the experience is touching and he has no plans to quit soon.

“I do this, I do this for the rest of my life, and I’m 100% happy,” he said. “I love weddings, big celebrations, fundraising, but emotionally, this is the best I’ve ever done. It was influential. “

According to Homeless Service Officer Paul Duncan, providing three meals a day to each resident of the site was essential to keeping people safe during a pandemic. Grand served at an affordable price of $ 5 to $ 6 per meal.

“Providing food to people in the field so that they could eat something was really very important for people to practice more safely at home and to self-isolate,” he said. Told. “If you want them to stay there, you have to feed them.”

Duncan says the food D’Sa said is modeled after the menu that The Grand usually offers at the event and also contributes to the overall well-being of the inhabitants.

“Just ensuring that people get high quality food there makes a big difference,” he said. “Still, it affects your ability to attract people.”

Michele Somers, one of the residents of the city’s supportive residential area in the former Best Western of Long Beach Boulevard, said he was shocked to learn that food would be delivered there.

“They are not only feeding us, they are feeding us delicious food,” she said. Summers still remembers their first breakfast in a new temporary housing called cheese, egg and ham croissants.

Serving quality food helped her self-esteem, she said. “It makes me feel better about myself-like: OK, I deserve this,” Somers said. “If you are treated in a class, you must have it.”

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