LA chefs give free meals to unemployed restaurant workers during COVID-19 pandemic

HUNTINGTON PARK, Calif. (KABC) -- Workers in the restaurant industry, many who lost their jobs due to COVID-19, received free meals at Gloria's Restaurant in Huntington Park this week.

"I used to work for a restaurant, mariscos (seafood), but unfortunately it closed down ... temporarily closed down," said Alberto Vargas, who is recently unemployed due to the pandemic.

"It's going to get harder, but we have to deal with it," Vargas said.

The owner and chef of the restaurant, Juan San Juan, helped organize this event and said he hopes to make it a little better for those who recently lost their jobs in the service industry.

"I already lost one of my restaurants," said San Juan. "I had to close down there was no way I was going to recover from this. And we didn't think about our business ...all we thought about was how we can help."

San Juan teamed up with his group of restaurateur friends in Los Angeles County, among them celebrity chef Aaron Sanchez, to make this happen.

"Food is medicine," said Aaron Sanchez. "And we're trying to reinforce that idea right now in this scary time that we're living."

San Juan said the effort they led in Huntington Park will also happen at other restaurants across the county.

"But we are going to continue this and we're not going to stop until either we have to close our doors down or until we beat this virus," said San Juan.
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