Health care workers at Community Regional Medical Center enjoy a sponsored lunch from Take 3 Burgers. Photos contributed
Written by Edward Smith
People still working during the coronavirus outbreak have been finding ways to spread the love to essential workers through a Downtown Fresno burger joint.
To date, Take 3 has given away 130 meals to daycare centers, doctor’s offices, a grocery store and departments at the VA Hospital and Community Regional Medical Center — among others — courtesy of Take 3 fans “spreading burger joy,” said co-owner Desirae Washington.
When a friend of Washington’s came into the Fulton Street hamburger restaurant to buy food for her family one night, she also left $200 to give burgers to people in need.
The gift came with no strings attached, so Washington said she began calling around to see who wanted free food. Surprisingly, people were hesitant at first, leaving the offer to people who might need it more.
She posted on Facebook that the restaurant was giving away free food. Instead, a Facebook user donated another $100.
“Oh gosh, now we have $300 worth of burgers and I have no idea what we’re going to do with this,” Washington said.
She thought about the people still working during the crisis. A surgeon friend of hers referred her to a clinic that was operating. She thought of grocery stores and of daycares.
“We have these funds to go towards food and we want to get people food,” Washington said.
But it didn’t stop there. People who received free burgers would then give another $20 or even $50 to do the same for another office. One person wanted to sponsor a department at Community Regional.
Another person sponsored their grandparents, who are homebound.
So over the past four days, she’s been making two to three deliveries of burgers, fries, drinks and onion rings a day during lunch. They have options at Take 3 beyond the standard beef burgers, so at the smaller offices, they’ve been accommodating people who don’t eat meat or those who don’t eat beef with vegetarian or turkey options.
Those pay-it-forwards have really helped the business that, unlike so many others, have had trouble getting people through the door. Hours at Take 3 have been cut back to 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
“It’s great, because some days, no one comes in,” Washington said. “For us, it’s great because it’s a guaranteed couple hundred dollars that day.”
Washington is now using social media to call on businesses to nominate others who are working through the crisis. They still have some funds left and they’ve been putting in what they can as well “to make it special,” Washington said.
“It’s kind of surreal to see people being kind during this time because you’re seeing a lot of people not behaving this way,” Washington said.
“I think it’s been really surprising,” she added.
Take 3 can be reached by phone at 559-489-0490 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Take 3 is available on DoorDash for delivery and will have a delivery app soon, but Washington encourages people who want to get out of the house to come downtown and pick up some food.