Photos by Asia Morris.
Dine LBC-participating restaurants took over the Long Beach Rescue Mission (LBRM) on Monday to give 160 homeless men and women the chance to enjoy an upscale lunch in their honor.
Held in conjunction with National Hunger & Homelessness Awareness Week, chefs from several of Long Beach’s most-loved restaurants, such as The Attic, Simmzy’s, Red Leprechaun, The Sky Room and Panxa, contributed their culinary expertise to craft an unforgettable afternoon of great food and community.
“In anticipation of the upcoming Dine LBC - Long Beach Restaurant Week, where the public have an opportunity to try out restaurants they may have heard about but have never experienced, we realize that there are many among us who never get the chance to dine out,” said Terri Henry, Long Beach Restaurant Week founder, in a statement. “We are grateful to our contributing restaurants [...] for their generosity and compassion for some of our community’s most vulnerable.”
Henry mentioned during the luncheon that she thinks Dine LBC could make this a regular event and that she received an overwhelmingly positive response from the restaurants after she put the call out to the culinary community.
Steve Massis, founder of The Attic, was there to help serve his restaurant’s famous Mac & Cheese, with flaming hot Cheetos on top.
“We would love to [make it a regular thing]," said Massis. "We look for events like this all the time. You know, any time we can do something to help the community, it’s always nice.”
A five-course meal was served in two different periods, one serving at 11:00AM and a second at noon. Those who came for the meal enjoyed Simmzy’s Caesar Salad, Panxa’s Turkey Enchiladas, The Sky Room’s signature stuffing and vegetables, The Attic’s signature Mac & Cheese and Red Leprechaun’s signature bread pudding for dessert.
A few of the homeless and low-income locals who sat at the family-style dining tables said that while the food at the Long Beach Rescue Mission is always good, today felt like they were getting “the VIP treatment.”
Normally those who attend get up and receive their food buffet-style, but this afternoon they were served by volunteers from Dine LBC, the restaurants and LBRM staff.
Billy Campbell, who currently holds a part-time job and says he’s camping out, visits the LBRM at least two times a week, while Laura Musselman and Jason Lingman, who rent a small studio together, say they generally visit toward the end of the month when they’ve used their allotted $200 worth of food stamps.
“I adore all the people here for what they do; they’ve been nothing but good to me,” said Lingman.
“Helping others and maintaining a strong sense of community was something I was taught from a young age,” said Jonathan Rosenson, proprietor & sommelier at The Sky Room, in a statement. “It is a big part of my culture and heritage to acknowledge that we all have one world and it is up to us to make it as good as we can.”
Since 1972, LBRM has served the hungry and homeless in the greater Long Beach area. In addition to providing food and shelter, the LBRM offers rehabilitation programs, spiritually based counseling, education and job skills classes, as well as transitional housing. For more information, visit the website here.
Dine LBC - Long Beach Restaurant Week is an annual event where dozens of local restaurants offer patrons three-course meals set at four price points, from $20 to $50. For more information about Dine LBC, click here.