A Redwood City restaurant that received a $100,000 contribution from Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan is paying it forward by keeping staff members employed, covering purveyor bills and making food donations to local hospitals and community members in need.
In the weeks after the start of the COVID-19 lockdowns, Zukerberg and Chan donated $100,000 apiece to eight restaurants they love in the Bay Area, as first reported by Palo Alto Online. Among the recipients was Vesta, an Italian restaurant at 2022 Broadway in Redwood City that is popular for its hand-crafted, wood-fired pizzas and small plates.
Vesta co-owner Courtney Borrone said she was surprised and touched by Zuckerberg and Chan’s generosity and concern for Vesta and its staff.
“It was and still is very surreal,” Borrone said. “We realize that we are so lucky to have been assisted in this way. We initially closed when the shelter-in-place order was made and we were stressed about the fate of our business.”
Since receiving the donation, Vesta reopened its business following a brief closure, restructured to offer takeout, a contactless sidewalk pickup system and DoorDash deliveries, and created an online order system. Along with supporting staff and keeping its business afloat, Vesta recently sent 95 lunch boxes to neighbors at the Fair Oaks Health Center, and also worked with Facebook and the San Mateo County Health Foundation on the Meal Train effort to feed frontline workers.
The above photo, posted by Vesta on Facebook, shows healthcare workers holding donated Vesta meals. The image was accompanied by the restaurant’s message, “Honored to be able to support our frontline medical workers. In awe of all the helpers in our communities pulling us through this challenging time.”
“We have seen a great outpouring of support from the local community and we feel so blessed to be able to continue to employ most of our staff,” Borrone told Climate. “There are still a lot of unknowns as to what lies ahead for restaurants and other small businesses. We are hoping to maneuver the next few months with grace and emerge stronger.”
She added, “There are lots of people who were recently unemployed or in a bad place financially, and we welcome them to call for a donated meal.”
Vesta operates seven days a week, from 11 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 3 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Sundays. Support the business by visiting its website here.
Other restaurants receiving $100,000 donations are Palo Alto restaurants Dohatsuten, Palo Alto Sol and Fuki Sushi; Chef Chu’s in Los Altos; Sushi Sam’s Edomata in San Mateo; and La Ciccia and The Liberties Bar & Grill in San Francisco, according to Palo Alto Online.