Food, Community & Care
Eden Eats At Home is a partnership between the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office, DSAL, and the Castro Valley/Eden Area Chamber of Commerce to support local restaurants and bring joy to families during the COVID-19 pandemic. Funded by a grant from the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program, Eden Eats At Home gives community members a chance to support local restaurants while also learning new recipes taught live online by local chefs.
“We came up with this concept to help local restaurants during shelter-in-place,” said Ashley Strasburg, Executive Director, Castro Valley/Eden Area Chamber of Commerce. “We wanted the businesses to make money, and we wanted to give the owners a chance to be able to share information about themselves while letting people know that there’s a lot of good food in Ashland and Cherryland. We also wanted to bring joy to families and keep people’s spirits up during the pandemic.”
“People can tune in live on Zoom, or they can watch the videos on our Facebook Group page,” she said. “Our first video has already had 1,200 views!”
Participants simply sign up through the Chamber’s Eden Eats At Home Facebook page, drop by the featured food business to pick up a box with all the ingredients pre-measured, and then log onto Zoom and follow along while the chefs provide step-by-step cooking instructions. Participating chefs so far have included Chef Marty from Aurora Catering; Tommy Kwok, owner of Angry Fish Sushi, and Lashawn Raybon, founder of I AM Café.
“During the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, when dining in at local restaurants was no longer an option, we wanted to give the community a way to enjoy the personal experience of eating in a restaurant while staying safe and socially distanced at home,” said Jasmin Castaneda, Small Business Liaison, Alameda County Deputy Sheriffs’ Activities League. “We also wanted to give local food businesses a chance to generate revenue during the crisis.”
“Eden Eats At Home is creating a safer community through Community Capitals Policing by giving people a chance to spend their money in the community so it stays here,” said Castaneda. “You also get to know the business owners, which brings a different level of connectivity and awareness.”
The Chamber launched Eden Area Take Out & Delivery at the outset of the COVID-19 crisis to make it easy for residents to connect and support their local food businesses. The page has exploded in recent months to reach 2,800 members.
“When COVID hit, we weren’t able to open for a whole month, and things were slow from April to June, so we were looking for ideas about how to stabilize the business,” said Tommy Kwok, Owner, Angry Fish Sushi and Angry Ramen. “Jasmin and Oliver (Zhang) reached out to tell us about the opportunity, and we decided to participate.”
“Making ramen isn’t hard, but the ingredients should be fresh, and the measurements need to be perfect,” said Tommy. “Our $10 pre-packaged box of ingredients included everything needed to make cooking ramen easy.”
Going forward, the Chamber has big plans for Eden Eats At Home, which has been a “pioneer,” according to Strasburg.
“There are other meal delivery services, but no one else has done this as a hyper-local initiative,” she said. “It’s been a great experience, and now we want to see the program grow from once a month to a weekly production. We’re also exploring working with community gardens to prepare locally-grown seasoning packages for the meal kits.”
“We owe a big thank you to Jasmin and Oliver for doing all the legwork, reaching out to the businesses, and making Eden Eats At Home a success,” said Strasburg.