Downtown Fresno restaurant finds new purpose serving fire evacuees

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Joe's Steakhouse and Grill in Downtown Fresno has found a new purpose during the pandemic: helping those affected by the Creek Fire.

"We knew we had the restaurant available, we opened up our kitchen as a production kitchen to try to pump out as much food as possible to send up to the first responders. Now we're starting to focus on taking care of the evacuees as the fire is starting to get more containment," said Jackie Anaya, Joe's Steakhouse & Grill Owner.

Anaya's business was shut down due to COVID-19, but she's found a way to give back by becoming a donation center.

Others businesses like Haron Jaguar and Fresno Acura and a partnership with philanthropy pinc has taken them to new donation levels.

RELATED: Creek Fire: Here's how you can help people, first responders impacted by massive wildfire

"They were taking donations and I was like, 'This is the perfect girl power opportunity. Let's all try to get together and make a bigger impact.' I think we've done a pretty good job," said Hilary Haron, Haron Jaguar & PINC Fresno President.

The room at Joe's Steakhouse holds a fraction of donations that filled the room a few days ago.

At Fresno Acura, they've been accepting donations by the truckload for humans and animals.

"I didn't know that we would ever accept hay at Fresno Acura, but we've had bales of hay. So it's been a unique experience, and can't be more grateful for our team," said Ellena Woodhams, Fresno Acura employee.
Together, they've helped serve more than 5,000 meals to first responders, like the National Guard crew members who rescued people from Mammoth Pool Reservoir.

They're also sending grocery boxes, snack bags and even activity bags for kids to hotels and to first responders.

Jackie and her family had a cabin in the Pine Ridge are and lost it to the flames.

"Most of our neighbors in that community are full-time residents up there, so we're focused on helping them that don't have a roof over their head to go home to. We are fortunate enough that we still have that." Anaya said.

Showing gratitude even during difficult times.

You can drop off non perishable food and other items here at Joe's Steak house. They will be open Saturday September 26th from 10-2. They say they'll continue to serve the community for as long as is needed.

Click here for the latest stories, videos from the Creek Fire.
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