MARTINEZ, Calif. - An attorney in Martinez has made a big impact in his community by donating money to create the meal program that helps struggling restaurants and people in need of a meal.
Joseph Tully, criminal defense attorney at Tully & Weiss in Martinez, has donated $30,000 to 16 restaurants as part of a program called “Meals to Martinez.” Tully partnered with Main Street Martinez, a non-profit organization focused on the economic growth and vitality of the downtown area.
Through the meal program, 600 meal vouchers will be given out to people in need. The vouchers are redeemable at one of the 16 restaurants that received money from Tully.
“I think a lot of people when they first hear about this, it doesn't make sense to them… they feel that it's too good to be true,” Tully. “We knew people were struggling to put food on the table. We knew restaurants were struggling to get customers. We put these two entities together to help them out.”
Kara Klotchman, Executive Director of Main Street Martinez, said anyone can nominate a Martinez resident that has been furloughed, lost a job, or deemed a non-essential worker. The program started less than two weeks ago. Klotchman has already sent out nearly 250 meal vouchers, worth $50 each.
“I think this program comes at a really necessary time or couldn't be a better time to help those that are now closing again,” Klotchman said.
Klotchman hopes the program will increase foot traffic downtown and bring business to other stores.
David Daberdaku, owner of Luigi’s Deli, said he is grateful for the meal program.
“You're going day by day, wondering how you're going to make rent and somebody comes with a check for $1500 out the kindness of his heart, that's something very amazing,” Daberdaku said.
Lesley Stiles, owner of Roxx on Main, said closing the restaurant was never an option. They quickly shifted their business model to take out orders and outdoor dining. The check from Tully has helped them continue to survive.
“I used it for half my rent,” Stiles said. “It was an absolute necessity when I got it and down the road when people come in with their gift certificate, they're going to get the best meal they ever had.”
Tully was born and raised in Martinez. His law firm is located downtown. He said every year he donates 10% of his firm’s profits to charity.