Toma SF Delights Family House with Delicious Food During the Pandemic

by Isidro Valenzuela, TOMA-SF

Published on May 8, 2021


After reading a few blog posts about the past and recent patients on the Family House website, it’s hard to put into words the admiration we at Toma have for the work the organization continues to do. Before working with them this past year, none of our staff at Toma had heard of Family House. We weren’t aware of the incredible resilience of the families living at Family House, and the children who were getting treatment from UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital.

At the beginning of the pandemic, like many other businesses, we knew it was only a matter of time before we had to permanently close our doors due to the shutdowns. But in the meantime, we made a decision to try and help as many families as we could. We began reaching out to our customers and friends for donations. Our main aim was to provide meals to the under-represented and often forgotten families in the community that weren’t able to file for unemployment or receive government assistance. It was overwhelming and heartwarming to see how grateful people were when we would drop off platters of food for the entire family.

During our “Buy One, Give One” campaign, we were connected with Family House. We were introduced to the not-for-profit organization through a family friend. Their values perfectly aligned with ours, and we were honored to work with them. Family House needed to place food orders for individually boxed lunches, and we were able to help provide meals during the initial lockdown. According to Chief Engagement Officer, Karen Banks, “The crisis of COVID and the sudden shutdown of Family House’s Volunteer Program in March 2020 was something no one foresaw. We had to cancel all the visitors and volunteers that were signed up to provide meals for the next few months. In the first couple of months, our wonderful community sent various dinner meals —pizzas, tacos, and sandwiches — to ensure our families were eating during this scary and unpredictable time. We quickly realized that we needed to streamline the dinner process and ensure that meals were individually packed to be safe and socially distanced. One of our wonderful Family House friends, Barbara Waxman, sent dinner through a restaurant called Toma. The feedback was incredible and from that day onwards, we were hooked.”

Our partnership with Family House was a huge blessing to all of us at Toma. We were able to put in more hours and help more families. We knew this was a temporary situation but we were grateful that we were providing food in the time of greatest need. After a year into the pandemic, we are still providing meals and helping families, thanks to our friends at Family House. Although we are still set to close due to the shutdowns, we are incredibly thankful to have had the opportunity to work with Family House and all the amazing individuals that work and volunteer here. Talking about the partnership with Toma, Karen said, “Working with Isidro and the Toma team is a huge delight because everyone really cherishes our families. They go above and beyond to provide them with delicious and nutritious food. We have been incredibly lucky for this partnership during the pandemic. The Toma team is really a shining light and beacon of hope during this challenging time”.

Our aim is to always provide a balance of delicious, healthy, and children-friendly meals. We hope the food has been enjoyed as much as we have enjoyed this amazing and fruitful partnership. As we move forwards, we hope to continue to get through this pandemic healthy and enthusiastic about future opportunities.

A huge thank you to Family House, Karen, and Paul — from everyone at Toma.

Thank you to everyone who keeps donating, today we were able to match a donation and help feed the families of Family…

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