By Mike Kinney
A popular local organization, barbecue eatery and two cannabis dispensaries teamed up again to feed community members impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic on Monday.
Soulful Softball Sunday and CJ’s Barbecue & Fish partnered with Holistic Healing and Green Remedy to feed roughly 150 at-risk homeless individuals who are sheltering in place at the Courtyard Marriott Hotel in Hilltop. The hotel is among the properties the County has set up to provide non-congregant living situations and services to vulnerable community members. Services at the hotel are being provided by the Greater Richmond Interfaith Program, or GRIP.
In April, Soulful Softball Sunday, a community organization known for its annual gatherings that bring the community together for delicious soul food, softball, and resources, also partnered with Holistic Healing and Green Remedy to feed frontline workers at Kaiser Richmond.
Soulful Softball Sunday volunteers were also behind the expansion of the West Contra Costa Unified School District’s free meals program for families. The organization’s co-founders Antoin Cloird and Rodney Alamo Brown vowed to hold another food drive in the community, and they followed through with that promise on Monday.
“Soulful Softball Sunday is about engaging the community,” Cloird said, adding, “We take a great pride in our ability to serve the community of Richmond.”
Charlie Evans, owner of CJ’s Barbecue & Fish, said he was “extremely happy” to be part of this latest food giveaway. “
“We want everybody to enjoy themselves and eat well,” Evans said. “Serving the community has been a tradition with us here at CJ’s for a long time. And it is a pleasure to feed the people at the Marriott.”
The county says it’s housing homeless residents at the hotel who had been residing in shelters and encampments that could not provide the needed social distancing and other safety measures to protect them from the spread of COVID-19.
“We’ve transferred nearly 400 homeless residents into hotel rooms we’ve rented and provided them with meals and care,” said Contra Costa County Supervisor John Gioia. “We value our partnership with GRIP and thank Soulful Softball Sunday and CJ’s Barbecue in providing the great Memorial Day dinners for the homeless living at Courtyard Marriott.”