A popular Boyle Heights eatery has started a food donation program that will help it keep its employees working and contribute as well to the work done by a local homeless shelter during the Covid-19 emergency.

A restaurant worker at Casa Fina takes a phone order.

Casa Fina Restaurant & Cantina has partnered with Proyecto Pastoral at Dolores Mission with a “Buy One, Give One” food program that benefits the Guadalupe Homeless Project’s shelters for men and women. For every pick up or delivery order the restaurant receives, it will donate one meal to help feed shelter residents. 

“Up until the current health crisis, the shelter has depended on volunteers who donate food supplies and help prepare and distribute meals two times a day.  With the current social gathering restrictions, this is no longer possible,” said restaurant co-founder Emmanuel Deleage in a press release. “Casa Fina is doing its part to help fill this need.”

Raquel Román, Program Director of the Guadalupe Homeless Project, said that her organization’s needs increased because of Covid-19. She told the San Gabriel Valley Tribune that the project has lost most of its volunteers because of the state-ordered shutdown, most of them staying at home to elude the virus or take care of children home from school.

“Before the current health crisis, our shelter was open 14 hours a day everyday serving two meals daily,” Román explained in the release.  “Now, with the current state of the world, we are open 24 hours a day seven days a week serving three meals daily.”

“We are very grateful to Casa Fina Restaurant & Cantina for reaching out and partnering with us to help homeless men and women dwelling within our shelter.  Acts of human kindness like this are what we need most, not just now, but at all times, good and bad.”

Casa Fina employees delivered a first batch of 70 meals on March 26 and a second batch of 70 meals on April 1. A restaurant spokesperson said a delivery would be made every time the restaurant takes in 70 new orders.

During the emergency, the restaurant is offering free delivery for all orders within a five-mile radius of its location on East 1st Street near Mariachi Plaza. There will be a $5 delivery charge for five to 10 miles, $10 delivery charge for 10 – 15 miles and $15 delivery charge for 15 – 20 miles.  

Josefina López at Casa Fina.

Only telephone orders taken directly by the restaurant will qualify towards the “Buy One, Give One” food program, not those through third party delivery service;  there’s a $10 minimum order required and each $10 spent will count as one meal that will be donated. 

Deleage started Casa Fina in 2017 with playwright Josefina López, as a for-profit fundraising partner to Casa 0101 Theater, which López founded in 2000. In addition to pick up and delivery food orders, the restaurant is offering grocery and household essentials like toilet paper for delivery at its “La Tiendita” online market.

“Casa Fina is hoping to not only assist Proyecto Pastoral with this project but also assist its wait staff by [having them become] delivery drivers, and therefore avoiding layoffs,” Deleage added.

More information:

Casa Fina Restaurant & Cantina

1842 East First Street



This post was updated on April 6 at 9:30 p.m. to clarify ownership of Casa Fina.

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Boyle Heights Beat

Boyle Heights Beat is a bilingual community newspaper produced by its youth "por y para la comunidad". The newspaper and its sister website serve an immigrant neighborhood in East Los Angeles of just under...

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