SEATTLE — A chef at Pike Place Market, who saw her business evaporate in a matter of days, is still busy in the kitchen, cooking for low-income seniors.
“Pike Place Market is my neighborhood and I'm going to take care of the residents here,” said Chef Traci Calderon.
As soon as coronavirus started spreading in Washington, Calderon's catering and cooking business, Atrium Kitchen, quickly dried up.
“At first I was like, 'oh darn, I lost that job or I lost that job,' and then the realization that I was losing 100% of the work that I booked for the next five months,” she said.
Calderon, who has been serving weekly community meals for free or donation, wallowed in the uncertainty for a few days, and then went back to her market kitchen to start prepping for her next endeavor.
She is now delivering meals to dozens of people who live in Pike Place apartments. Many are home-bound.
“It's a wonderful blessing. I am not very mobile and I'm low income,” said Kae Lebeau, who received a meal on Monday. She has not been able to stock up on groceries.
“We're lucky to have people like Traci in our community here who care so much and have a heart for everyone,” Lebeau said.
Restaurants and shops, which are closing for weeks, donated perishable ingredients from their refrigerators. Calderon gives her attention and time.
“I'm just really concentrating on bringing the most nourishment to people, that's what they need,” Calderon said, “and quite honestly it's what I need to do.”
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