Upgrade your browser - Unfortunately, this site has updated features that cannot run on this version of Internet Explorer. Download a free upgrade of Internet Explorer.
Doing Good Mobile Hero
Discover Story Ideas Details Back to Story Ideas

Californians Doing Good

March 30, 2020

In the face of adversity, California business owners, destination stewards and residents are rising up to provide relief to their fellow industry members and communities in any way possible. Discover the stories of individuals, businesses and communities leading by example and helping their own in uncertain times.

People Helping People 

  • As the schools shut down, the elementary school principal in the Northern California town of Ft. Jones started reading bedtime stories and uploaded videos to her YouTube channel so the kids could watch and listen to a comforting voice.
  • Anaheim White House chef and owner Bruno Serato and two of his cooks continue to show up at work, to make boxed meals for delivery to local organizations.
  • Kim Avant, The Grande Colonial Hotel Director of Human Resources, has taken up a program for managers to donate any unused paid time off to hourly staff, which will convert into immediate cash in hand. The Grande Colonial is a small property (led by 15 managers) but they have already received nearly $5,000 in converted PTO hours.

Educational Resources

  • The San Luis Obispo Children's Museum has created the Busy Box program to keep kids busy during their time away from school. Each box is filled with fun crafts, science projects and games with instructions to match.
  • The Exploratorium’s scientists and educators created the Learning Toolbox to help learners of all ages make sense of timely topics–such as the science of viruses and what drives our social interactions–through hands-on, at-home activities involving household items.

California-Based Donors

  • The Recording Academy, the parent organization of The Grammy’s and its philanthropic MusicCares arm, are donating up to $2 million to artists and musicians affected by closures and cancellations.
  • The Disneyland Resort has an ongoing commitment to reducing food waste, and during the temporary closure of Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure Park, the resort has been donating excess food to Second Harvest Food Bank of Orange County.

Restaurants Give Back to the Community

  • SLO Brew Rock is supplying free meals to grocery store associates as they continue to work day-by-day. Meals are prepared by SLO Brew's talented chefs with the option to add on their house-made beers and spirits.
  • San Diego’s GBOD Hospitality Group are strong supporters of It’s All About the Kids, a local charitable organization that provides food to kids in impoverished neighborhoods. The group is  donating food to feed families who are underserved and struggling in the community.
  • Farmer’s Table restaurant in San Diego's Little Italy transitioned into a nonprofit community kitchen to feed people on the front lines of the effort to contain COVID-19, including first responders and healthcare workers.
  • Many Tuolumne County restaurants including The Service Station, The Standard Pour, Black Oak Casino Resort, and more have made the decision to temporarily shut down and donate their food to local food banks and charity organizations, feeding over 300 Tuolumne County residents so far.
  • Cafe Sevilla Spanish Restaurant and Tapas Bar, with three locations in Southern California, has donated over 2,000 pounds of food. All available food is sent to local food pantries and homeless shelters.
  • Heitz Cellar partnered with local charitable organizations, including Adobe Service Napa, The Table Napa and The Salvation Army, to donate 500 lbs. of beef from the Angus Cattle on their biodynamic farm to give to families in need.
  • Celebrity Chef Joachim Splichal & Gregg Wiele of Patina Restaurant Group are working with their team to feed Southern California's front line heroes, ensuring they are all well-nourished during their tireless fight against COVID-19. Chef Joachim’s Patina Cares Program prepped, delivered and served over 3,000 meals in one week, working with three local hospitals and The Hollywood Food Coalition.

Wineries, Breweries, Distilleries Create Hand Sanitizer, Offer Deals and Donations

  • Just over two years ago, the Denny Bar Company Restaurant and Distillery opened its doors in the tiny rural town of Etna, California, reviving the local economy and renewing pride in the community. Today, the owners are putting their distilling power to use by making hand sanitizer for the entire community (and beyond!) in complimentary 2-ounce bottles.
  • To help their part-time tasting room associates, Darcie Kent Vineyards in Livermore is contributing 10% of all online purchases to a fund that helps many who have lost their primary source of income due to the statewide closing of tasting rooms. They have also reduced shipping expense to just one cent for orders of 3 bottles or more.
  • Oceanside’s Pacific Coast Spirits— a local distillery— has joined the “distill your own” hand sanitizer trend and is making it available to locals, hospitals and companies in 2.5-ounce spray bottles.
  • Devils Creek Distillery recently started donating 16-ounce hand sanitizers to the Mammoth Lakes Chamber of Commerce for distribution to local Mono County businesses. When supply became low, they collaborated with Mammoth Brewing Company, who agreed to donate whatever beer and fermentation they can to be distilled into alcohol and turned into sanitizing products.
  • Napa Valley Distillery is using distilled grape and grain spirits, mixed with lime and spearmint natural oils and essences, to create 75-proof hand sanitizer free of charge to the local Napa community and law enforcement. The label reads “Be Strong Napa – Just Say NO to COVID-19.”
  • Paso Robles’ KROBAR Distillery, along with CalWise Spirits, were among the first in the state to convert their high-alcohol ethanol into a powerful FDA-approved disinfectant and are currently equipping hospitals, emergency responders and government agencies both locally and throughout California.

Accommodations Aiding Their Employees and Community

  • Evans Hotels, which includes Bahia Resort Hotel, Catamaran Resort Hotel and Spa, and The Lodge at Torrey Pines in San Diego County, has continued its employee cafeteria services, allowing all employees to have access to breakfast, lunch and dinner at no cost.
  • Tenaya Lodge closed its four-diamond rated resort, but despite the shutdown will keep its Emergency Response team active to serve the community. Staffed and operated by Tenaya Lodge at Yosemite, Company 33 is the result of a collaboration between Tenaya Lodge and Mariposa County and provides year-round, 24-hour emergency service to Fish Camp and areas north to county lines.

Destinations Rising Up to Coronavirus Challenges

  • The Berkeley City Council has created the Berkeley Relief Fund and approved $3 million for emergency relief grants to small businesses, nonprofit arts organizations and residential tenants that have been hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Mammoth Lakes Tourism opened a  community food bank. The tourism organization ordered non-perishable food goods from US Foods and is creating bags with items for singles, couples and families; volunteers are assisting with the assembly and distribution of the bags.
  • Locally, kids and adults are rallying behind Bishop, starting with the theater posting a sign "We Believe Bishop Will Bounce Back." The community has been challenged to create kindness rocks to line a permanent rock pathway at the City Park–anything inspirational; a word, picture, quote or thank you to all those that are still working to provide safety.
  • The St. Helena Chamber of Commerce and the City of St. Helena created a gift card purchasing portal on Sthelena.com to support more than 38 local businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic. The #SHGiftcardChallenge portal allows for smaller businesses in St. Helena that may not have a gift card system to continue operations during a time of decreased sales or temporary closures.

California Companies Pivot to Produce Needed Supplies

  • Best known for handmade leather goods, Oceanside’s Rais Case is sewing masks to give to local hospitals, the homeless and others. The team has created a pattern that can be easily downloaded for anyone to make at home and join in the efforts. 
  • Hedley & Bennett, a premium chef-quality apron retailer based out of Los Angeles, had the materials, supply and design knowledge to inspire their production of reusable, protective face masks. Individuals can purchase the masks individually with their BUY 1 - GIVE 1 plan or DONATE directly to nurses, doctors and food workers by clicking here.
  • Kinematic Automation in Northern California’s Tuolumne County is building machines that will help in the global battle against COVID-19. The manufacturing company was contacted to assist in building a machine that will manufacture COVID-19 test kits. The kits manufactured can produce results in less than three hours and there are plans to produce 600,000 of them a month starting in April.