Trio of friends cook up, distribute 200 meals for homeless in Richmond

Trio of friends cook up, distribute 200 meals for homeless in Richmond
Photos courtesy of Alejandro Barrera

Alejandro Barrera isn’t from a nonprofit or government agency. But amid the COVID-19 pandemic, he wanted to offer his services to people in need. And what the chef and two of his friends, Julio Santiago and Jonathan Martinez, could offer was some incredibly enticing food.

And so Barrera, a chef and Richmond resident, went to the store Thursday morning and began cooking dishes such as carne asada and pork stew at his friend’s house. The trio then traveled to homeless areas in Richmond, including parks and in the area of the Pick-In-Pull on Market Avenue. By 9 p.m., they had passed out 200 plates of food.

During the day, a sheriff’s patrol car passed and a deputy commented on the delicious smell of Barrera’s food. Barrera let him know that he likes helping others because his mother instilled it in him, and would be happy to feed sheriff’s office staff working amid the shelter-in-place period. Barrera and his friends then delivered some of their food to the sheriff’s office.

The three friends say they are grateful to be part of the community, and happy to help at an important time. And they’re not done. They plan to do it all again next week, this time in San Francisco.

“We aren’t an organization, we are only three people who want to help our community,” he said.