As Los Angeles shut down beaches and pulled the plug on fireworks during Fourth of July, local Filipino Americans were honored during Grand Park’s virtual block party.
Among the familiar faces, along with a familiar taste.
The block party honored The Park’s Finest and Thunderbolt, co-owned by Johneric and Christine Araquel-Concordia.
“We would rather just hang out and relax. We don’t need the accolades we don’t need the praise what we would really love to do is be with our people, but right now we can’t so the best thing we can do is take care and protect our folks by serving up those who are dealing with the most traumatic stresses, dealing with COVID and everyday life, while dealing with the systemic struggles of United States history.”
As they virtually celebrated their food and drinks, they were honored for their community work.
Since the start of the pandemic, their Feed the Frontliners project has served some 10,000 meals to medical frontliners throughout Los Angeles, while spreading their voices during the recent racial equality protests.
“What’s special about being recognized by our community for something as special as grand park celebration, we are just a sample of what Los Angeles does. Los Angeles cares, takes care of and fights for our folks so if we’re able to do that together we’re just taking this recognition on behalf of the community.”
While the usual hustle and bustle of their popular restaurants have been limited, they said this project has given them a chance to serve a bigger purpose.
“The fact we’ve been able to do it this long, we’ve been seeing a variety of different healthcare facilities, we’re reaching the hospitals we’re reaching the skilled nursing facilities different places who are being impacted by it just caring for those who are sick, there’s this common thread about there this anxiety you sense, but also when go there to provide them with a meal that was provided by the community it means a lot to them and we appreciate being able to do that for them,” said Christine Araquel Concordia.
While they admit they miss the daily routine of running their restaurants, they enjoy making a difference in the community.
The Park’s Finest Instagram page has links on how people can help them keep their projects going, feeding those that serve on the frontlines on the pandemic.