WALNUT CREEK, Calif. (KGO) -- A Walnut Creek restaurant is now providing free meals for frontline workers in the fight against the coronavirus.
"We were the favorite breakfast spot of Walnut Creek. The restaurant was packed and on Saturday and Sunday there was an hour long wait and people would complain but they love us! Well we can't have people in the restaurant now so we will take it to the people who can take the food," said Joe Stein, owner of Sunrise Bistro.
On Monday, his pastry bakers showed up at 2:00 am and his cooks at 3:00 am to start preparing breakfast for paramedics who work on ambulances.
They took the food to AMR headquarters in Concord and handed out food and coffee to workers free of charge as they headed out on their shifts.
"It's very much appreciated. It is a bit of a stressful time for us and it's very nice of them to reach out and do this for us," said Paramedic Keith Robinson.
"I don't usually eat breakfast so I got a sausage egg burrito so this is kind of different for me," said Supervisor Enrico Aguilar. He said the crews are holding up pretty well, given the circumstances.
Stein is accepting donations to fund this effort. He has set up a GoFundMe account. and estimates that he will need about $100,000 to keep this going. He says it not only pays for food but also helps him keep about 30% of his employees working.
It's not just paramedics who are receiving meals. He has also given food to hospital workers and will soon feed police officers.
Stein thinks this is just a warm up for what is to come.
"I think it is an ominous feeling that this is the calm before the storm and they're going to need us in about a week. That has been the conversations we have had: 'Hey you know what? Thank you for doing this today. Hopefully we won't see you soon. But when we see you next, we will really need you', Stein said about the reaction he received Monday from paramedics.
Stein says his employees are really excited about the purpose of helping first responders. They're also grateful to be keeping their jobs.
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