“Meal Masks” aims to keep San Jose businesses alive while providing relief to affected workers

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) – A recently launched activity by Masks for Meals is helping to keep locally owned businesses alive and feed affected employees.

It’s called 86C19.

“If there are problems in the restaurant business, we get rid of it. We no longer have it,” said organizer Carl Foisy, explaining the name. “It’s not here anymore!”

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And until the COVID-19 pandemic is over, Foisy’s message will be loud and clear: “86 C-19”.

The effort began late last summer. Foisy and his business partner Brian Schwab began applying this branding to reusable masks and selling them.

For every $ 500 of mask sales, 100 percent of that money goes towards buying meals at a customer-nominated, randomly selected local restaurant in San Jose.

The process begins with a mask purchase.

“People go to 86C19.com and click ‘Join.’ They join the movement and decide what to buy. Then they nominate a restaurant,” explained Foisy.

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When it hits $ 500, Foisy and his daughter record pulling a name out of a hat. Videos of this process have been posted on the 86C19 Facebook page.

“We’re going to the restaurant and see if they want to participate,” he said. “And every time it was a little different.”

Foisy continued, “In some cases, some restaurants actually matched what we were doing and gave twice. It was really cool. I mean, there is so much to give with that.”

These prepaid meals are designed to feed those on leave, underemployed or unemployed due to the pandemic.

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“So far we’ve negotiated a total of 130 meals to serve,” Foisy told ABC7 News. “All from different locations and all locations that have been nominated.”

He said a recent example of the effort in action involved the Farmers Union in downtown San Jose.

“We had 30 people between Monday and Saturday who signed up for every meal they wanted and showed up and got a meal,” said Foisy. “No questions asked.”

In addition to making meals easier, Foisy said the money paid provides much-needed support to small business owners.

“We’re not trying to bargain and we got a better price for them,” he added. “We paid the price that was on their menu for this meal. That’s the money they make.”

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Foisy admitted that he was inspired by Haberdasher SJ owner Cache Bouren and a restaurant owner named Jim Stump.

“What they did for the restaurant industry was to provide meals by whatever means they could,” said Foisy. “Whether they were sharing meals from one restaurant to another, or getting liquor companies and people like that to sponsor and buy meals and then giving them to their people.”

ABC7 News spoke to Cache Bouren about his efforts and what 86C19 could do.

“When the shutdown came, it was pretty clear that if you’re a bartender or server, if you’re a bartender or a server, you’re going to go from $ X a week to zero,” said Bouren. “So one of my concerns was, how are these people supposed to eat? There are no shifts out there, it’s going to be really difficult for them to make some money and depend on anything.”

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He continued, “The idea was really to use our relationships with brands and suppliers to give us a little support when the people who work in the industry needed it most. And that would be when a shutdown was out comes to nothing and you still have it. ” To pay rent. “

Speaking of Foisy, who found inspiration in Bouren’s approach, Bouren said, “It’s very kind of Carl. He’s definitely cutting his own way and having a really big impact. So it’s really neat that he approach him because I feel like it that we made one. ” pretty little effort to be honest. “

Bouren admitted, “This money won’t pay the bills of your average restaurant or bar, but these little things and this kind of activism give us an excuse to spend our energy, time, and money on something that will benefit the community we live. We live.” and work in. We not only create the opportunity to support each other. “

Foisy said his wish was for 86C19 to go further than San Jose alone.

“Granted, we did Campbell, we did Los Gatos, we got nominations for restaurants all the way down to Sonoma and down in Carmel,” he said. “We’ve shipped masks all the way to London and even LA. So people see it, but I wish 86C19 was everywhere now.”

Through the efforts of 86C19 Masks for Meals, Foisy said more than 400 masks were purchased and more than $ 2,000 was raised. Nearly 40 local restaurants were tapped to participate in the support and more than 130 meals were offered free of charge.

“It’s more than the meals, it’s the four restaurants that we pay $ 500 for. It’s the 400+ masks that are smart, reusable and don’t end up in the landfill – that we bring into our community,” reported Foisy ABC7 News. “It starts with talking about mask awareness. It’s so much more than, ‘Just give me some money, let me buy some meals.'”

Click here to purchase an 86C19 mask.

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