Restaurant offers weekly free meals to first responders

What started as a class project, has now become a weekly act of kindness during the coronavirus pandemic. Three years ago, AltaEats owner and Executive Chef Paul Ragan was helping his daughter, Emma, on a project for school with the premise to help feed those in need.

They were attempting to think of a system where they could store food curbside for anyone to pick up. Although it never came to fruition, when COVID-19 hit, that class project was the genesis for what is now Emma's Pantry.

Emma's Pantry is the name of Thursdays at AltaEats restaurant in Pasadena, CA, where they offer free meals to first responders and healthcare workers, and deliver 90 free meals to the Pasadena Senior Center every week.

"With the COVID-19 and everything, we kind of came up with doing a weekly meal for people who are first responders, healthcare workers, and anyone else who is hungry," said Ragan.

"When people pull up and genuinely thank us... to still have people acknowledging that this is a really great thing that my dad has started feels really good," said Emma Ragan.

Frequent Emma's Pantry visitor, Debbie Ong, picks up meals for her friend who works as a nurse at nearby Glendale Adventist.

"This is such a relief for her and her family," Ong told ABC7. "They're so appreciative of having these wonderful meals because of Paul's generosity and AltaEats' generosity."

AltaEats is currently open for curbside pickup. You can order online or by phone or you can visit Emma's Pantry on Thursdays for their free offering to first responders, healthcare workers or anyone in need.