Pacific Beach, La Jolla businesses step up to help healthcare workers
by DAVE SCHWAB
Published - 04/17/20 - 02:30 PM | 17998 views | 2 2 comments | 38 38 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Grant LeBeau, from Rickaroons, gives nurse Rose Colangelo a care package donation at Scripps La Jolla on April 15. Rickaroons has made 18 hospital donations and has another 12 planned, though that can go on longer if they receive additional community support. COURTESY PHOTO
Grant LeBeau, from Rickaroons, gives nurse Rose Colangelo a care package donation at Scripps La Jolla on April 15. Rickaroons has made 18 hospital donations and has another 12 planned, though that can go on longer if they receive additional community support. COURTESY PHOTO
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Crises can bring out the best in people. Businesses too.

Which is being proven daily with the coronavirus pandemic through the philanthropy of local small-businesses donating to their employees, caregivers, hospitals and first responders.

Two beach-area small-businesses – Rickaroons at 679 Turquoise St. in North PB and Single Fin Surf Grill at 3844 Mission Blvd. in Mission Beach – have been leading the way in responding to the health-care crisis.

Organic coconut energy bar entrepreneurs, the LeBeau family recently committed to helping healthcare workers.

“Hospital staffs everywhere are going to be stressed these next few months,” said company spokesperson Grant LeBeau.“Our goal is to show community support by committing to ongoing weekly donations to the staff of four local emergency rooms at some of our biggest area hospitals.”

“Although Single Fin is a for-profit business, there are no profits to be made (right now), so we have switched our business plan to focus on keeping our employees employed,” said restaurant spokesperson Michael Beltran. “We seek philanthropic-minded individuals or corporations who would like to provide specially designed packages to feed 20-100 essential workers who are on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic.”

Noting Rickaroons has also received support from Pressed Juicery, Laird Superfood, Local Krave, Cafe Moto, FATCO, Sun Bum, and Kopari. LeBeau added: “We have also offered our customers the opportunity to donate a box of Rickaroons, which we will then match. Because of this, we have been able to add to our list of donor recipients the SD Food Bank and the Alpha Project.”

Pointed out Beltran: “No decision has been more difficult than when we closed our doors temporarily due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We have been constantly trying to adapt to the rapidly changing world around us.”

Beltran says when you think of “front line” workers, nurses, doctors, police, and firefighters come immediately to mind.

But he was quick to add: “Keep in mind the grocers, City workers, and delivery drivers are also on the front lines, so there are many choices of people you can send some love to. We just make it easy. You order and contribute, we prepare and deliver.”

The LeBeau family is presently distributing 100 Rickaroons, Instafuel pre-mixed instant coffee and powdered coconut creamer by Laird Superfood, roasted coffee beans weekly from Local Krave, Dark Horse, and Cafe Moto, as well as hand lotions supplied by donors Sun Bum, Kopari and FATCO. Those donations are going to UCSD La Jolla, UCSD Hillcrest, Scripps La Jolla, and Scripps Mercy hospitals.

“The way our budget cycle works is we produce ahead of time what we think we’ll need for four to six weeks,” said Grant LeBeau. “COVID hit almost overnight, and customers started closing down. So with our relationships in the natural food industry, we put together a care package for local hospitals.”

Continued LeBeau: “We have a place on our website, rickaroons.com, where customers have been supporting us. For every box they buy – we match that. People can rally around and make a difference without having to leave their homes.”

“We will be taking orders online at singlefinfeeds.com for 20-100 people and delivering within the City of San Diego,” said Beltran. “If you can’t contribute 20 meals, then contribute a few meals that will be added to other orders and delivered. Last week we prepared over 600 meals that were delivered to many local businesses including health care workers at UCSD La Jolla’s Emergency Room and Infusion Center.

“This is our slow season, so the money we make now pays our employees,” noted Beltran. “That money went away overnight. We just want to keep people employed. So we shifted our business to cater specifically to front-line workers, as well as grocers and other essential workers. We take donations for the food. We prepare each meal and deliver them to the unsung heroes of this pandemic.”

A sampling of other beach-area businesses helping out first responders and others on the front lines during the crisis include:

- Local business owners, Tony Hall and Doug Gans of Torrey Holistics, have donated more than 7,000 N95 face masks and over 10,000 hand sanitizers to various health centers, local organizations, customers and staff since mid-March. With shortages of medical supplies around the country caused by the COVID-19 international health crisis, Hall and Gans saw an opportunity to directly help their community, the medical workers on the frontlines, and those most vulnerable.  

"The Torrey Holistics family and I wanted to make sure that our staff and community stay safe in these unprecedented times,” said Tony Hall, co-owner and founder of Torrey Holistics. “Through my network, I was able to get the necessary items to support the people on the front lines who are working tirelessly to serve and protect San Diego.”

Torrey Holistics has announced a portion of April sales will be donated to senior centers. For more information, visit torreyholistics.com.

– Pure Bliss Bikinis, which makes sustainable women’s swimsuits from recycled plastics, is offering their “incredible seamstress” Suanne who started making masks last month.

“She is our lead seamstress and is spearheading our summer 2020 collection,” said the company on social media. “She let us know that her nephew, an ER doctor, requested she help make masks for his team at the hospital. She has now switched her efforts to mask-making. We couldn’t be more proud of her. If you or a loved one are working in a high-risk environment and could benefit from a mask from Suanne, let us know.”

For more information, visit pureblissbikinis.com.

– Lotus and Luna at 1552 Garnet Ave., which sells women’s jewelry and accessories from Thailand, will donate a second face mask to a healthcare worker or essential business professional for personal use for every mask purchased from them. “If you’re looking for a cloth-mask option for your essential outings, check out @shoplotusandluna’s bio at lotusandluna.com/collections/face-masks,” said Discover PB, the community’s business improvement district.

– Team Phun at 685 Turquoise St., which makes custom merchandise and branded apparel, said they’ve been “so busy helping first responders during this crisis that we have not been active on social media. Our entire team has been actively helping the men and women on the front lines supplying masks, PPE, and other items to fight this virus with products including hand sanitizers and non-branded masks. We can also prepare home-delivered gift baskets and other items for employees working remotely.”

For more information visit teamphun.com.

– The GoFundMe campaign launched by Breakfast Republic has raised over $12,000 in an effort to provide free meals to medical workers fighting the COVID-19 pandemic. Breakfast Republic (part of Rise & Shine Hospitality with locations in Pacific Beach, Ocean Beach, and Liberty Station) has decided to make its main objective to feed laid off workers and frontline medical workers during this pandemic. 

The eatery is providing free meals out of Breakfast Republic's Mission Valley location to hospitality workers and later extended the free meals to anyone who has lost their job in San Diego. Being moved by the overwhelming positive feedback, and what so many others were doing to help healthcare workers, the restaurant expanded its efforts by delivering free meals to medical workers who are on the frontline fighting this pandemic. 

Breakfast Republic committed $45,000 to do this endeavor. As of April 10, the group has donated over 3,300 meals.

– Randy Jones Foundation, a San Diego-based nonprofit, has partnered with Social Tap San Diego to provide free meals to County frontline health care workers. Donations will go directly to providing much-needed meals as many hospital cafeterias are now operating at a diminished capacity. #sandiegofeeds program also gives the ability to choose which hospitals and units will receive the donations.

Brant Crenshaw, owner/operator of Social Tap, will be personally in charge of organizing meal services and coordination of deliveries to health care providers.

For more information, contact [email protected].

On April 14, San Diego Loyal SC announced a partnership with Rady Children’s and The Conrad Prebys Foundation to raise funds for the hospital’s fight against COVID-19, which was announced last week. Registration is open for the multi-week virtual fundraising effort. SD Loyal asks fans, as well as the community, to help reach the team’s fundraising goal of $30,000 and help Rady Children’s get one step closer to completing The Conrad Prebys Foundation COVID-19 Response Challenge.

“Like most of the world right now, we’re challenged to come up with creative ways to support our community during this unprecedented time,” said Warren Smith, president of SD Loyal. “We want to show support for our partners like Rady Children’s Hospital who have been at the forefront of childhood health care for more than 65 years.”

Soccer fans are able to register to join one of three teams: Team Landon Donovan, Team Carrie Taylor or Team Nate Miller. Each team will embark on social media-fueled challenges—while staying safe at home—to raise money until Saturday, May 2, the original date of the Dream Big Walk, which was put on hold by the COVID-19 outbreak. Challenge winners—and donors—will be eligible to win prizes and unique experiences with the SD Loyal.



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