The Park’s Finest Pivots Kitchen to Feed Front-Line Workers
LOS ANGELES – After The Park’s Finest, a Filipino-inspired grill restaurant, closed for almost a year, people want to open its doors, but the restaurant owners have other plans. Ann Pajimula is one of the co-owners and she describes what they do by getting back to their roots by getting back to catering, but with a twist.
“To keep security in place, John and Chris were able to find sponsorships and donors, and we ran a GoFundMe to help the frontliners,” said Pajimula. “We found out that they are crowded, they work so hard that they don’t have time to eat.”
What you need to know
- The Park’s Finest has delivered over 55,000 free meals to health care workers and firefighters since last March
- The co-owners all met during the community organization for SIPA, the search for Pilipino Americans
- One fifth of all nurses in California are of Filipino descent.
- If you would like to donate to Feed The Frontliners, please visit: gofundme.com/f/feed-the-frontliners-project
Johneric Concordia and Christine Araquel-Concordia are Pajimula’s partners and have decided to work in micro-teams. Pajimula would cook while they delivered. Instead of opening up again, they have accepted donations from the community and used the money to provide hot meals to hospital workers.
The food is free and they have delivered over 55,000 meals since last March.
“We miss being able to serve everyone,” said Araquel-Concordia. “Since we can still operate, [we] Find a way to get people to eat and take care of the people who take care of us as a community. We have to take care of them, so we do what we do. “
When the Philippines became a US territory after the Spanish-American War, the US adopted its nurse training system, which ultimately led to mass migration. According to a survey by the California Board of Registered Nurses, 20% of nurses in the state are of Filipino descent. Today they are disproportionately affected by COVID-19. Araquel-Concordia wants to support them.
“And as long as we can keep it going with community support, we will continue like this,” said Araquel-Concordia.
Recently, their Feed The Frontliners project caught the attention of shoe company Vans, who helped them design a limited edition slip-on and t-shirt for “Foot The Bill,” their initiative to help small businesses during the pandemic. All net proceeds from these products go directly to the companies.
“We also need to be aware of what the dynamic is when you open up. Sometimes you come across anti-masking agents, and just trying to go to work and not get sick is the best way for us to ensure safety and protection, ”explained Araquel-Concordia. “All of this is just about holding on until we get to the other side.”
They appreciate they’re doing half the business they were doing before the pandemic, but for Pajimula who works in the kitchen, knowing that they care about the people who might be able to take care of them is just as satisfying .
“We know the fight is out there, but we’re just trying to look at the positive side of what we’re doing,” Pajimula said. “Our crew, they are just … they are really happy that they are working and they are happy with what they do every day because they know that they are doing something really good.”
If you’d like to donate to Feed the Frontliner, visit their GoFundMe.