Nine months ago when restaurants across Washington were forced to shut down for the first time to slow the spread of COVID-19, Spokane philanthropist Rick Clark took to social media to rally support.
Logging on to Facebook each night, Clark hosted 15-minute livestreams to collect donations from the public, which he used to buy dozens of full-price meals from a local restaurant to feed an area nonprofit's staff and clients the next day.
Each night, Clark was averaging between $800 and $1,000 in donations, and after 43 days he'd raised more than $50,000 that was spent at 60 local restaurants, providing more than 3,000 meals to those in need. Clark paused his efforts after restaurants were able to reopen for in-person service in mid-May. However, with another dine-in ban lasting until at least mid-December, Clark has been logging online almost daily for the past two and a half weeks.
Those interested in donating or tuning in to follow along can join the Facebook group "Spokane Quaranteam," which boasts more than 4,200 members and counting. Streams are held at 5 pm Monday through Saturday, but donations are also accepted anytime via Venmo (@Helpspokane), the Cash App ($Helpspokane) and PayPal (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Recent beneficiaries of Spokane Quaranteam's efforts include Scratch feeding the YWCA of Spokane's domestic violence shelter, Lost Boys Garage supporting Crosswalk teen shelter, Allie's Vegan Pizzeria & Cafe making meals for Open Doors family shelter, The Viking providing food for clients of Truth Ministries, and Brooklyn Deli supporting the UGM Men's Shelter. ♦