A local cafe that fed seniors for free at the beginning of the pandemic has started up again. And even though the pandemic has hit them hard again, the husband and wife team feel they have a duty to their community.
When Tony Jolly first started feeding seniors at the beginning of the pandemic, he had financial help from the city. His restaurant was preparing and delivering hundreds of meals a week. But then the money dried up. Yet when another COVID-19 lockdown hit, he and his wife Tina Bite decided they had to act.
“We still had to do it, so we decided to start it up ourselves,” says Bite.
The day before Thanksgiving, Hot and Cool Cafe began to give food to seniors in Leimert Park again. After that, the couple says, a woman from the San Fernando Valley, who saw the NBC4 News story, donated two thousand dollars so the couple could continue with their labor. And since then, they’ve set up a Go-Fund-Me page to build more community support.
“I think this pandemic has brought out humanity in a good way, so we want to be part of building that,” says Jolly, owner, and co-founder of Hot and Cold Cafe.
As food insecurity continues to increase due to the pandemic, in addition to the senior meals, Hot and Cool Cafe continues to operate a community fridge where people can pick up free food.
“We consider it our goal and our duty to help our community especially during this time we all have to lift each other up if we all try to go it alone we’re not going to make it,” says Bite.
Losing outdoor dining was a tough blow for Hot and Cool Cafe, whose business had come back to near pre-pandemic levels. And now like every restaurant, it worries about its own survival, yet won’t forget those who are even more vulnerable.
“If there are people that are hungry you got to try to feed them,” says Bite.