BERKELEY (KPIX 5) — In a team effort to keep people fed during the coronavirus pandemic, a Berkeley community program is working with kitchens of struggling restaurants to provide gourmet meals to the city’s homeless.

John Caner, the founder of the Double Helping Hands program, says it all came together in less than a week.

Chef Amy Murray of Revival Bar & Kitchen is trying to find creative ways to keep her restaurant afloat during the pandemic. She does take out several times a week, but now she’s also signed up for the Double Helping Hands program.

“Nobody really knows how much other people are suffering so it’s something we can do. It’s helping others which is a different kind of fuel,” Murray said.

Murray prepares 80 meals for $10 each, 2 of which she donates back to the Dorothy Day House in downtown Berkeley. Caner says the homeless community was thrilled to hear about these hearty meals.

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Caner shared a conversation he had with a homeless person there.

“’Do you know anything about lunch today?’ And they go, ‘No.’ Actually these are gourmet lunches coming local downtown restaurant, and they said, ‘They are?’”

Community donations are what keeps the program running. They pay for the meals and employ restaurant workers while feeding the homeless. “You cannot understand for these folks who feel so marginalized and so neglected to get this beautiful treatment,” Caner said.

The amount restaurants make from the program is minimal, but it’s more about the community coming together and making the best of these tough times.

“We have a lot of inventory and it would be ashamed to let this food go to waste. I would rather cook for anybody who needed it than throw it in the dumpster,” Murray said.

Caner says the program has enough funding to make it through April 29. The hope is that more donations will come in and they can actually expand the program to offer more meals.

If you’d like to make a donation to the Dorothy Day House, visit this site: Network For Good

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