One of the most delightful and long lasting flavours I ever tasted in my life, was our beautiful Mexican culture. I had never imagined running a business.
Through the passing years, I realize that one of my passions is to serve others. This has enabled me to run my kitchen even during the most uncertain and challenging events of life itself.
With the impacts of the novel COVID-19, everything had rapidly evolved, most services booked from the last ‘‘Busy Season’’ (Temporada Alta), were either cancelled or rescheduled until further notice. What do I do now? How long is this going to last? What are the after effects that will impact my team from this?
As a business owner in the food industry, there is a great responsibility to continue serving my clients, family and community. I could not let down my loyal and hardworking team of kitchen staff, I’ve provided them with as much financial support from my savings to help them hang on through the uncertainty of returning to cook.
In later weeks of lock down, it was nearly impossible to stay satisfied at home, and I began my first project to give back to my neighbours and those around us. The idea was simple, a Community Table now known as “Platos Con Amor”. This project has the main goal of supporting the most vulnerable and endangered population; single mothers, elders, and people with disabilities, who can’t or don’t have the resources to cook for themselves.
I reached out to my family, employees and friends. There were some important starting points that helped us structure the logistics of this ambitious operation. Little did we know about how a real catering service is made for the pluebo’s people, at a very grande scale with lots of love for those involved.
Soon after this, the word was spread, thanks to the solidarity of many valuable and big hearted friends and clients of ours, it was possible to kick start a fundraiser!. I designed a fisable healthy menu, re arranged stronger hygiene protocols to meet safe covid-19 standards, got lots of groceries, and our kitchen team of volunteers began a full speed cooking operation at The Sierra School. The classes had been suspended and the facilities were made generously available for our use.
Despite the uncertainty of starting this pilot project, the great encouragement and contributions of our volunteers and donors continued us to grow together. The first weeks went by in the blink of an eye, local farmers and fishermen reached out to provide us with food ingredients, an increasing number of over 100 meals a day being cooked, long 14 hour days to keep powering the prep work of the next day, visiting the homes of those benefited, as well as managing the operations to sustain our resources in the most efficient way.
During the middle of the summer, it came to our attention that the dire need of this project was evident, we arranged several meetings with the local authorities and other non-profits organizations who wanted to get involved with our common cause of food security. This shared sentiment was well conceived, and on August 3rd of 2020 we established the first permanent community table in the history of our town, viva!
Since April we have prepared over 10,000 meals! These immense accomplishments towards abolishing hunger has been possible through the kindness and generosity of everyone who has supported this altruistic project. Our joint efforts are what has enabled us to maintain our kitchen operating.
We are currently celebrating our first online auction featuring award-winning artist Robert E. Wood! His magnificent artwork captivatives the natural scene of Baja. Platos Con Amor is grateful for his noble contributions. You can join the event on our facebook page this December 5th. This is your chance to support a great cause and bring a work of Baja´s fine arts into your home. Or maybe this is the holiday gift you've been looking for!
More updates will continue to be shared through social media, and Platos Con Amor’s new website: www.platosconamor.org
Our community is truly blessed with the enormous love, and care that we bring to each other. On behalf from everyone who has received food from our kitchen, we are deeply thankful for all of you who believed in this project, and for those who keep supporting food security in Todos Santos!
Elisabeth Chavez Rivera