Coronavirus Kindness: Bay Area monetary, GoFundMe donations bring meals for health care workers, jobs for Burlingame restaurant employees

BURLINGAME, Calif. (KGO) -- What started out as a way to show appreciation to hospital workers putting their lives on the line is turning into a lifesaver for others who lost their jobs as restaurant dining rooms had to close.

It's lunchtime, and 35 meals are on their way from Limón Rotisserie restaurant to the frontline health team at Mills Peninsula Medical Center.

"Quarter chicken, our famous rotisserie chicken, with white jasmine rice, salad and sautéed green beans," said owner Fran Perez.

Thirty five meals, three times a day supported by a GoFundMe campaign started by Burlingame resident Jeff DeMartini.

"We started seeing donations up and down the Peninsula, the East Bay," said astounded Burlingame resident Jeff DeMartini. "A doctor from UCSF who lives in San Francisco donated," he said.

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Close to $65,000 has poured in that is also helping to support local restaurants who had to lay off staff. The campaign created a circle of support, part morale booster and part economic stimulator.

"In the beginning, we had to lay off 85 percent of our staff, but little by little, we've been able to bring back... now we're back up to 65, 70 percent of our staff," said Limón owner Perez.

John Kevranian, president of the Broadway Burlingame Business Improvement District, says it reflects the spirit of a closely knit community.

"They're saving lives. It's a wonderful partnership with the restaurants and with the hospital to do this joint effort," he said.

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Dozens of restaurants are participating. The idea is catching on in other cities across the country. And what started as a one-month project is getting extended.

"As long as people keep donating, we'll keep doing it," said DeMartini.

There are two places to support the campaign: Meals for Mills and this GoFundMe site.

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