Poke Parlor launches GoFundMe page to support health care workers in light of COVID-19 pandemic

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On March 30, Berkeley restaurant Poke Parlor launched a GoFundMe page aimed at funding meals for East Bay health care workers to show community support during the COVID-19, or the novel coronavirus, pandemic.

According to restaurant co-owner Walter Mak, the fundraiser was inspired by a similar fundraiser from Tootsies at the Stanford Barn, a Palo Alto restaurant. Poke Parlor is promoting its fundraiser through its Instagram account and is focused on encouraging students to participate. Mak, however, said this fundraiser is new ground for the restaurant.

“In a time where the health and financial security of many Americans is uncertain, we’re trying to make things just a little easier for people in this challenging moment in history,” Mak said in an email.

The campaign started March 30 and, according to Mak, will continue until the shelter-in-place order ends. The goal is to provide health care workers with healthy meals to ensure these workers can maintain their health.

“Many healthcare workers lack healthy meals from long and strenuous work hours thus lowering their immune system which could potentially have a down spiral effect,” Mak said in the email.

The restaurant will be offering four platter options for health care workers: a tuna platter made up of ahi tuna marinated in soy sauce with onions, cucumbers and edamame; a salmon platter consisting of sriracha cream-marinated Scottish salmon with citrus ponzu, red onions, cucumbers and edamame; a barbecue chicken platter with green onion and sesame seaweed seasoning and a veggie platter made up of tofu, avocado, seaweed salad and other vegetables. Individuals will be allowed to choose two sides with each platter.

Donors can vote for what department and organization they want meals donated to. Poke Parlor will then randomly choose a recipient based on donor votes and cater the meals based on the recipient’s preferences.

At $13 per meal, the initial goal for the fundraiser was to raise $130 for 10 meals. Now having passed that threshold, Poke Parlor intends to raise as much money as it can. For every five meals donated, Poke Parlor will donate an extra meal. 

According to Mak in the email, 100% of the proceeds from the fundraiser will go directly to funding the meals.

On Friday, Poke Parlor announced its first food delivery, which is scheduled for Monday, to the emergency room of San Leandro Hospital.

As the fundraiser continues, Poke Parlor plans to expand its meal coverage to other departments of San Leandro Hospital and other hospitals across Alameda County.

“We really would like to highlight that our objective is able to create an impact on the community even at times of economic distress,” Mak said in the email. “Berkeley is a city that is heavily community driven and we want to echo that message with this initiative.”

Contact Blake Evans at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter at @Blake_J_Evans.