Kensington restaurant delivering free lunches to those in need

thai farm kitchen
Jess Calvo and Elizabeth Kanyawee Calvo of Thai Farm Kitchen.
Courtesy Thai Farm Kitchen

Owners of a Kensington eatery say they’re offering to deliver free lunches to locals who need them in attempt to shine a light during dark times.

“We just want to be a small candlelight to the community, and make some light in the darkness,” said Jess Calvo, the owner of Thai Farm Kitchen.

The Church Avenue restaurant is offering to deliver lunches right to the door of anyone who needs it within a one-mile radius, including seniors and people with disabilities, without expectation of a tip or any unnecessary human contact. 

Calvo, who owns Thai Farm Kitchen along with his wife Elizabeth Kanyawee Calvo, said he decided to pitch in after watching the groundswell of negativity and suffering that has stemmed from the spread of the novel coronavirus, including hate crimes towards Asians, mass layoffs, and scammers seeking to exploit the vulnerable.

The Kensington restaurateur said he felt the need to help however and whoever he could, and that everyone who is able should try and do the same. 

“If you can offer just a small gesture to anybody, even helping someone crossing the road would be good enough,” he said. 

As of Monday, Calvo said his restaurant is delivering to about seven people per day, but that number is growing as more people reach out to them. Already, Thai Farm Kitchen has helped some seniors in the neighborhood, including a 70-year-old woman who is looking after her 8-year-old grandson while his mother is quarantined with coronavirus. All have responded with gratitude, with some breaking down in tears as they thanked Calvo — who makes sure to check in on those he helps over the phone as they may be isolated.

Meanwhile, Thai Farm Kitchen has been hit just as hard as any other local business, said Calvo, who has had to move his full-time staff to a part-time schedule while he remains open for takeout and delivery only.

But, while the staff may be working less, Calvo said the opportunity to help others has given his employees a sense of purpose during the pandemic, and that others looking to volunteer have even reached out offering to help with deliveries.

“They feel honored to do this,” he said. “They feel that they are also helping other people, they feel connected, they feel that they are doing something great, everybody is lifting up their candle.”