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Manhattan Beach Unites to Serve Workers, Community During Coronavirus Crisis

Apr 02, 2020 12:09PM ● By Jeanne Fratello

Photo via Feed Our Heroes LA

The small town of Manhattan Beach is fortunate to have caring, driven people; a solid infrastructure, and a community-centric spirit. All of that has created a dynamic network of people working to help and serve during the current pandemic and resulting shutdown.

Mobilizing for Equipment


Exhibit A: When a local ER doctor put out a call for help for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) resources for her hospital, the community responded in a flash. In less than 24 hours, the Protect Our Heroes GoFundMe effort has raised more than $21,000 of its $25,000 goal. 

Sonia Simms, the ER doctor at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center who started the fundraiser, said that her hospital is seeing an increasing number of COVID-19 patients every day. 

"As the virus spreads rapidly throughout our community, many of my fellow doctors, nurses, hospital staff, EMS personnel and I are all running critically low on personal protective equipment (PPE) and other important supplies," she wrote on her Protect Our Heroes GoFundMe page. 

"Some local hospitals are down to a few months or even weeks of critical PPE items," she added. Some local doctors have even been told to purchase their own - if they can find it. We cannot be in a situation where we are re-using masks for a week or more as is the case in some states."

Simms said that she had many connections with both other hospitals and suppliers, and that the funds (and equipment) raised would all go to help protect local frontline hospital workers.

Helping Frontline and Essential Workers


Local restaurants and other businesses have gotten creative in their efforts to help front-line and essential workers with meals and services.

The Feed Our Heroes LA effort by the Simms Restaurant Group has raised more than $32,000 of its $50,000 goal. By the end of the week, the team will be preparing 200 lunches per day, and will add additional drop-offs for night shifts starting next week. The teams at The Arthur J, Tin Roof Bistro, and Simmzy's in Manhattan Beach have been able to support their kitchen crews with the additional work provided. 

The MB Feeds the Heroes effort by the Downtown Manhattan Beach Business and Professionals Association and its restaurants has raised $75,000 to cover almost 5,000 meals to date. However, the program can only sustain as long as donations continue to come in. Tom Loversky, who started the Manhattan Beach Coronavirus Resources Group on Facebook, has challenged Facebook group members to raise an additional $20,000 to sustain the program.

Turner Family Restaurants, parent company of The Local Yolk, has been raising money for meals to feed frontline workers, and has just joined the Feed the Frontlines Fighting COVID-19 LA effort in partnership with World Central Kitchen. This is a group of Los Angeles area business leaders, parents and chefs/restaurateurs with the mission to raise funding to feed healthcare workers as long as the crisis lasts, with all donations being tax deductible. (World Central Kitchen is a 501c3 nonprofit founded in 2010 by celebrity chef Jose Andres to provide meals in the wake of natural disasters.) Out of a goal of $3 million for the Feed the Frontlines effort, more than $571,400 has been raised so far, including a $250,000 match from L.A. Lakers star Anthony Davis in partnership with Lineage Logistics. The Turner Family Restaurants will be providing 900 meals per week to the teams at Providence Little Company of Mary Torrance & San Pedro, with hopes of adding more hospitals in need.

Beyond food donations, other businesses have jumped in to aid front-line and essential workers.

Marine Layer is taking donations to make masks for LAProtects.org. The masks are non-medical-grade, reusable masks that will go directly to be distributed to essential workers. Marine Layer's famous double knit fabric is said to be uniquely suitable for multi-layer masks. Marine Layer is donating the fabric; the fundraising effort is for the labor. For every $25 donated, Marine Layer is able to make 10 masks.  (100 percent of the donation will go to labor costs for the masks and Marine Layer is not taking any profits).

Pressed Juicery is donating cold-pressed juices and juice shots to health care and front-line workers, including food banks, police officers, and veterinarians. If you want to nominate an organization to receive a juice delivery, email community@pressedjuicery.com.

Trilogy Spa has launched a Send-A-Sugar Scrub project to give local health care workers some self care in the form of spa-like indulgence. Purchase an organic sugar scrub for $30, and Trilogy will deliver it to the local ER teams. (Worth noting: Trilogy is organizing Zoom happy hours and has promised to post recipes for face masks and Champagne glow peels - stay tuned.)

Helping Residents and Community Members


Right Tribe has offered to make masks for community members for free - and they filled all of their requests until they ran out of materials. They are currently sourcing additional materials, with the note that they are no longer going to be shipping masks - just making them for local delivery.

El Porto Surf Shop has converted into a temporary neighborhood delivery service now called El Porto Delivery. They are offering free delivery to those who live between 32nd Street and 45th Street, and between the Strand and Crest Drive. The delivery service offers items from restaurants, dry cleaners, and liquor stores in El Porto,  They are also offering toilet paper and disinfectant. They are asking only for tips for restaurant workers and a voluntary $5 donation to keep the staff working. Call or text 310-504-4372.

Fishbar is serving as a pop-up grocery store. You can order grocery essentials or call for take-out - see www.fishbarmb.com. They also have a new free delivery service, created in collaboration with The Beachonista for residents of Manhattan, Hermosa, or Redondo Beach. Visit beachon.co for more information.


City and Local Services, Assistance Offered


The City of Manhattan Beach continues to offer assistance for seniors through its Older Adults Hotline: (310) 802-5010. The line is staffed on Monday-Friday from 6:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., and on Saturday and Sunday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The city, working in partnership with several local organizations, is able to help with coordinating meals, transportation, medication, groceries, or other essential items for seniors. They also maintain a Grocery Store Senior Hours page.

(Worth noting: The city has put out an alert asking residents to refrain from flushing anything other than toilet paper down the toilet. (An increasing number of people are using toilet paper substitutes such as "flushable" wipes that are not truly flushable.) Please help prevent sewage blockages and overflows by flushing only toilet paper and waste.)

The Beach Cities Health District Office is urging residents to use these Kindness Cards to print out and share with a neighbor who may be self-isolating. Community members who need assistance are welcome to call the BCHD's Assistance, Information & Referral line at 310-374-3426, ext. 256 - seven days per week from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. BCHD is also working to support COVID-19 testing efforts at the South Bay Galleria, which is available by appointment only. Click here to see if you are eligible for a COVID-19 test.

South Bay Families Connected is offering a resource page for families and children to stay mindful and to manage stress and anxiety during this difficult time.


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