As physical distancing continues, the American Legion Post 291 in Newport Beach, CA has turned its foodservice operation into a drive-thru restaurant. Since the COVID-19 crisis began, the 291 family has been helping military veterans, their families and the community with low-cost meals.
"We're learning a lot of new things, because we've never done this before," said Jon Reynolds, commander of Newport Harbor Post 291.
"We have had people that actually come and they don't have enough money for a meal and we still feed them," said Ulises Dominguez, kitchen manager and chef of Post 291.
As one the largest American Legion posts in the country, its priority is to support and feed as many veterans in Orange County.
"We serve 8,000 people here and we see, last week, about 1,500 veterans, members here, that are using us to feed their families," said Dennis Fitzpatrick, events manager with the American Legion Post 291
"It means everything. It's like a home away from home and I appreciate everything the American Legion is doing," said Vietnam veteran Ken Burch, who has been a member with the Post for more than 30 years.
The draw of long lines and new patrons has been a successful pivot for the Post.
"This is marvelous, I tell everybody I know," said auxiliary member Eilene Oldis of Huntington Beach. "I miss it and this is kind of a touch base and see all my favorite server."
The Post 291 offers pick-up from noon to six every day.
This restaurant has turned into a drive-thru amid coronavirus crisis