Family. Food. Philanthropy.


On March 23rd, Sunrise Bistro and Catering in Walnut Creek launched a unique GoFundMe (GFM) page in response to the COVID-19 “stay-in-place” life that became our new normal.

Adjusting quickly to keeping its customers satisfied, owner Joe Stein, also moved to food-to-go only and catering orders continued. As a U.S. Marine Corp veteran who served in Afghanistan and Iraq along with family roots that taught him the value of giving back, Stein launched a GFM page to procure, cook, package and deliver healthy meals to local hospitals, clinics, testing facilities, and first-responders. The restaurant is also preparing 700 meals per day which feed the quarantined homeless in the community.

Family owned and operated, Sunrise was founded in 1981 by Cindy Gershen, a dynamo, community-minded advocate, entrepreneur, and chef who has been committed to serving fresh and sustainable homemade food when it wasn’t trendy. Instead, she has been one of its leaders. You won’t find her in the kitchen of the Bistro any longer but you will find her passion and influence in the Sustainable Hospitality Program she pioneered and operates at Mount Diablo High School in Concord (www.mdusd.org/chefcindygershen).

“In June 2014, I purchased the business from my mother,” Joe writes on his GFM page. “I grew up around Sunrise, have worked every job in the organization, and currently operate as General Manager. It’s still a family affair as Stein’s business partner and head chef is his cousin Ty Pearce.

“We’re proud to share that to date we’ve now delivered north of +4,300 healthy meals to first-responders, with thousands more to come!” share Joe and Ty. “It’s been incredible, the level of appreciation these first-responders display when we walk in the door. Over the past couple months we’ve been delivering healthy food to fill their bellies... but also hope and smiles to fill their hearts.”

To date, they have raised $74,785 towards their original goal of $100,000 in donations to feed at least 7,000 first-responders. “We’re excited to see so many other organizations following along and stepping up to feed front line first-responders over the past couple months as well. It seems that with your help, we’ve created a real movement.”

Sunrise Bistro and Catering is located at 1559 Botelho Drive in Walnut Creek. Call 925-930-0122 for to-go orders. For catering, call 925-930-6323. Open daily from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. visit sunrisebistrocatering.com for a sneak peek at the menu and catering options. To support the GoFundMe effort, visit bit.ly/SunriseGFM.

POPCORN, WINE, CANDY AND LIVE STREAMS. In keeping with GoFundMe efforts, the Orinda Theater in Orinda Theater Square has a creative approach as well. Owner/Operator Derek Zemrak has been hosting

live streams on Facebook on Saturday mornings with film actors, directors, and the like. Last Saturday, he hosted actor Jeffrey Weissman of Back to the Future II and III and Pale Rider fame, among others. This Saturday, June 6, at 11 a.m. the live stream, aka In the Ring with The Box Officer, features special guest Michael McGreevey, Disney star and writer, recognized for such favorites as Now You See Him, Now You Don’t, The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes, The Strongest

Man in the World co-starring with Kurt Russell. He also wrote for such TV classics as The Waltons, Fame, and Quincy M.E., to name a few. Simply visit the Orinda Theater Facebook page at facebook.com/orindatheatre/ or the Roku channel ZPTV to join the fun.

But wait there’s more! Each Friday, the theater offers its Friday Night Popcorn, Wine and Candy Drive. Simply drive by the theater and park curbside from 5 p.m to 6:30 p.m. and pick up your treats for $20 which also features a Facebook live stream from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. of Sci-Bob’s Psychotronix featuring 16mm film of the classics’ movie trailers, commercials, and more surprises. For more details, visit orindamovies.com or call 925-254-9060. The theater has been closed since March 16 due to COVID-19. To help support this East Bay 1941 landmark, visit gofundme.com/f/orinda-theatre.

Featured image: Sunrise Bistro provides food to first-responders, Courtesy photo

Frosene will be back with you again Thursday, June 18, 2020.

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