COVID Food Supply Heroes: Locked down but not out!

by Margaret Sufke

During the early stages of the COVID19 lockdown, basic food stuffs and household goods were hard to come by. Many folks were scrambling to find the essentials like flour, eggs, fresh produce, toilet paper and cleaning supplies. Several local area small business owners stepped up and went above and beyond to help our neighbors get what they needed most.

This is our first chance since the lock down began to showcase these local heroes, shinning the spotlight on Wells Branch businesses that demonstrated a real sense of community spirit: Branch BBQ, Dream Bakery, Four Seasons Chinese Restaurant and Oasis Pizza & Café.

Branch BBQ, Chris Carby, Owner:  (512) 990-5282
Located in Wells Branch Plaza, branchbbq.com

Chris and his team used their rationed restaurant resources and bought large quantities of eggs, milk, flour, toilet paper, paper towels and other basics. Chris would then post messaging to the various neighborhood social groups that supplies were available and to stop by and collect want you needed—at no charge. He would accept donations, they were not required. All he asked was that each community member take only what was really needed. The program worked very well.

“We are so grateful for the community support we have received over the years, we were glad to help out.” – Chris Carby

Dream Bakery, Karen Fry, Owner:  (512) 219-1235
Located in Wells Branch Medical Center, dreambakery.com

Dream Bakery provides not only delicious traditional baked goods, but offers a complete menu of gluten-free and keto treats. Karen provided an order/pick up service for basic food ingredients, which included some healthy alternatives which were gluten free. There was an easy order system and prices were reasonable.

This is an amazing community! The support we have received from everyone has helped us grow our business. It was an honor to give back to the families in Wells Branch. – Karen Fry

Four Seasons Chinese, Tracy Yuan, Owner: (512) 251-0827
Located in Bratton Square, fourseasonschinesetx.com

Tracy took an innovative approach to helping feed people. She offered hot, ready to eat take away meals loaded with fresh vegetables and tasty meats—the meals were enough to feed 3 people. She targeted single working parents who were struggling to shop and prepare food for their small family. The meals were free, and were offered several days a week, just in time for an early dinner. Tracy and her staff also sold a reasonably priced package of PPE faces masks and she had those on hand when no one else did.

Oasis Pizza & Café  (now closed) hosted: The Produce Project
Livia Pope, Program Chair and Local Small Business Owner
All Dolled Up Make-up and Hair: AllDolledUpAtx.com

Oasis Pizza and Café, originally owned by Angela Williams partnered with Livia Pope and Karen Fry to provide fresh produce through a unique online ordering system and with store front pick up. This was a huge help to WB neighborhood families. The community-minded café owner shared the restaurant store front during tough times. Livia Pope contacted local produce wholesalers, such as Sysco Foods and Restaurant Depot and developed a short-term produce delivery program. The program only lasted 6 weeks, then sadly the café was forced to shut its doors. Livia is now continuing with her beauty product business as people are beginning to host functions once again.

I was just so frustrated at not being able to find fresh produce. With so many things shut down, I had time to help and could see a real need, so I used my creativity and marketing skills to help the Wells Branch community. – Livia Pope 

As the pandemic continues to rage on, community members have settled down into what is now a familiar pattern of getting by and doing a lot more meal prep at home, these local businesses also offer a great way stretch your menu by offering a wide variety of tasty to-go menu options.

Please continue to patronize these truly amazing local area businesses; they are one of the many things that make the Wells Branch community GREAT!

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