The COVID-19 pandemic has shaken the world in an unprecedented way. From small business closures to the halt of regular life as we know it, nearly everyone has been impacted in one way or another. Despite all of the setbacks, many stories of compassion have emerged from the wreckage, one of those being from Koko’s Restaurant in Seabrook.
Koko’s mission to give back to the community all began during the first week of the mid-March state-wide lockdown. While brainstorming how to best utilize their kitchen, co-owners Gibran Moreno and Alex Torres came up with the plan to deliver supplies to workers at Grays Harbor Community Hospital (GHCH). This delivery included 50 burritos and a large box of gloves. The “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order imposed by Governor Jay Inlsee required most businesses in Grays Harbor to shut their doors, while the hospital was required to stay open at all hours, ultimately putting healthcare workers at a much higher risk of contracting the virus. The delivery of burritos and gloves came as a happy surprise to many healthcare workers, including Kenzie McFadden, a registered nurse at the hospital. “My coworkers and I were all so happy and appreciative that Koko’s thought of us and went out of their way to deliver burritos to everyone,” says Kenzie.
After the delivery to GHCH, the Seabrook Community Foundation noticed the good deed that Koko’s had performed and reached out to Gibran and Alex to see if they would be willing to take it one step further. With a unanimous yes all around the board, Koko’s immediately began the delivery of burritos to the North Beach community.
A great deal of consideration went in to planning how best to deliver food to the local community. With the closure of schools in early March, it became apparent that one of the neediest groups in the area was the children. So, they got in touch with the North Beach School District, which has a feeding program in place to provide two meals a day during the week. “We then decided that we could supplement their program to provide food on the weekends,” explains Gibran. “We now deliver 1,000 burritos every Saturday.”
The hard work that the staff at Koko’s puts into the delivery of such a large quantity of food would not be possible without the extraordinary efforts of their staff. “When we first mentioned the idea to our staff,” says Gibran, “they were immediately willing to help in any way that they could.” The staff members graciously show up every Saturday to volunteer their time to make the burritos, a task that usually takes around seven hours to complete. Gibran also notes that his incredible staff often show up the Friday before to help with the preparation for the following day.
After the burritos are assembled and ready to go, the Foundation delivers them to the North Beach students and their families. After all of the hard work, Gibran continually feels motivated to continue giving back for as long as the need is there. “The staff at GHCH sent us a card thanking us for the donation which was really nice of them,” expresses Gibran. “Then, on one day four separate families called and expressed their gratitude to us. The days are long, but when we hear the impact that we’re making and the appreciation that’s felt, it motivates us to keep going.”
The delivery of burritos is currently scheduled to continue into mid-May, although the situation is constantly being reassessed as the lockdown continues. “We’re still occasionally making deliveries to the hospital,” says Gibran. “We also plan to deliver meals to the army reserve in Pacific Beach. If anybody else needs help, please don’t hesitate to reach out. We would love to continue to assist Grays Harbor in any way that we can.”
Koko’s originally closed due to the “Stay Home” order, but received so many calls from locals wanting to support their business they have been able to remain open Thursday through Saturday for take out orders.
Contact Koko’s at 360-276-1090 or follow them on Facebook for more information.