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HomeCharities & FundraisersPasadena Food Hug Bolsters Minority-Owned Restaurants

Pasadena Food Hug Bolsters Minority-Owned Restaurants

Photo courtesy Muse family
City of Pasadena sanitation workers were able to enjoy lunch through donations made to Pasadena Food Hug, a nonprofit organization that local resident Trisha Muse (second from right) helped launch to benefit front-line employees during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Trisha Muse’s vision for Pasadena Food Hug, which she founded and launched in August with the Latino Restaurant Association, was to deliver comfort and hope to those on the front lines of the battle against COVID-19 and help local Black- and Latino-owned eateries survive the pandemic.
Thanks to caring donors and foundations, the effort surpassed its original fundraising goal of $30,000 and raised more than $62,000.
Since the summer, Muse and volunteers have delivered nearly 3,800 meals to first responders and essential workers in more than 30 industries including health care, utilities, grocery and retail, senior living/nursing homes and nonprofit organizations. She hopes to raise at least an additional $10,000 to enable the program to continue to support the restaurants and workers through the winter surge.

“In a time with so much darkness, this is one way we can come together to help our community” said Muse, a volunteer for the LRA, a national nonprofit. “Pasadena Food Hug is truly a win-win – helping our restaurants, while also recognizing front-line heroes.”
Lilly Rocha, CEO of the LRA, said her organization’s collaboration with the Pasadena Food Hug “has allowed us to assist our regional restaurant partners by purchasing meals from them to help feed essential workers. We are very happy to have started in the city of Pasadena and we hope to expand to other cities as well.”
Abel Ramirez is among local restaurateurs who have voiced gratitude.
“We appreciate the tremendous support we’ve received from Pasadena Food Hug during these difficult times,” said the owner of El Portal and Yahaira’s Café. “We’re proud to partner with them to help our front-line workers.”
“I encourage people to donate to Pasadena Food Hug,” said a spokesperson for Lêberry Bakery & Donut. “The food orders have helped us weather this storm and given us pride in providing ‘hugs’ to our essential workers. Trisha has done amazing good for our business and the community.”
Said Letty Ochoa, general manager of Pasadena Transit: “We are truly grateful and blessed to be among the recipients of the Food Hug program. The delicious meals have provided a huge morale boost to our amazing bus operators and other staff members who are literally on the front line, keeping our citizens moving throughout the city providing the best and safest service possible. It’s truly inspiring to see the city coming together in such a positive and supportive way.”
Pasadena Food Hug has supported nine restaurants, including Amigos Mexican Restaurant, El Portal/Yahaira’s Cafe, Urbano Mexican Kitchen, El Metate Café, Chamo Venezuelan Cuisine, Yuca’s Pasadena, Perry’s Joint, Lêberry Bakery & Donut and Bonnie B’s Smokin Barbecue Heaven.
Those who wish to help Pasadena Food Hug extend its services through March can make a tax-deductible donation of any size at The effort seeks to raise $10,000.
• $300 feeds a shift of employees at Trader Joe’s
• $500 feeds Pasadena firefighters at all eight of the department’s stations
• $800 feeds employees at all Pasadena Chapcare locations
• $900 feeds all Pasadena Transit workers
Prospective donors also can nominate a group of essential workers in Pasadena to receive a food hug by sending an email to

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