He fills the packages with groceries and supplies and then delivers them to the elderly, the disabled and food insecure families throughout Marin County.
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Lam began two weeks ago at the start of the shelter in place and has continued every single day since, despite his own businesses struggling.
"People are always more important than money. People first and then money after," Lam said, reiterating a mantra he lives by.
"There's a lot of people out of food and they're stuck at home, so I just opened up my freezer, started packing stuff and buying stuff from the grocery store, and delivering it to people," he explained.
The generosity of strangers is amazing. The owner of Bacon Restaurant in Novato, CA has been making these care packages - filled w groceries/supplies - for the elderly, disabled & food insecure families throughout Marin County. Volunteers hand deliver them daily @abc7newsbayarea pic.twitter.com/ee1gVlt3KT— Liz Kreutz (@ABCLiz) March 31, 2020
Lam posted about his offer on Facebook and requests for the packages came pouring in. At first he was paying out of pocket, but now people have started donating -- so far, a total of roughly $9,000.
Melanie Morgan is one of Lam's frequent customers. She has been helping make the door to door deliveries. She said she's even delivered one to the home of a 101-year-old woman in Kentfield.
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"These groceries have gone to people in zip codes that I had no idea had food insecurities," Morgan said. "Kentfield, Tiburon, Corte Madera, Greenbrae, Larkspur."
On Tuesday morning, Morgan delivered a package to a woman who lives in a mobile home park in Novato.
“People are always more important than money. People first and then money after.”— Liz Kreutz (@ABCLiz) March 31, 2020
This is Tien Lam, owner of Bacon and Pearl restaurants in Novato. Like all business owners he his struggling, yet he is using all donations to his restaurants to buy groceries/supplies for others. pic.twitter.com/7xtFyQscsC
The woman, named Sarah, said she is a single mom with three kids, including one who has underlying health conditions. She explained that she lost her job at a restaurant because of the pandemic and said the care package is a life saver.
"It means that money can go toward my rent and not having to choose," Sarah said, "Between roof and food."
Lam says it's stories like these that will keep him going every day until the shelter in place is over.
"I grew up in the Tenderloin. I grew up with nothing," Lam said. "And now I'm in a position that I can help people, and I feel very, very happy to help."
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