LOS ANGELES — While necessary to slow the spread of COVID-19, California's stay-at-home orders place a financial burden on many residents who can't work due to business closures.

But last April, one local golf professional who was unable to work himself found a way to help others.

What You Need To Know

  • Local golf professional Eric Meichtry has playing for over 25 yearse

  • During the pandemic, Meichtry has been using his cooking skills to serve those in need

  • The golfer said his love of sports and for the late Kobe Bryant inspired him to want to do more for his community

Eric Meichtry has been a golf professional for over 25 years, playing in tournaments nationwide with over 50 wins to his credit. When he is not competing, Meichtry teaches lessons at The Golf Club at Rancho California.

After California’s stay-at-home orders went into effect, Meichtry got to thinking about others who were unable to work due to the pandemic and was inspired to help them using another one of his skills.

“There was something more that I can do with my time, and I love to cook,” Meichtry said. “I can reach out to some friends and family and see if they wanted to kick in some money.”

These donations helped Meichtry purchase food to prepare and serve to his neighbors in need.

“Before you know it, right away, money was coming in,” hesaid. “Not a lot but enough to get it started. So I’m thinking, I can cook. I’ll cook for families in need, first responders, teachers, coaches that aren’t working. I know all those coaches are looking for some help and support. I am just the guy with the skills to grill, and they will fund it. And together, we can do some cool stuff.”

Over the years as a professional golfer on minimal sponsorship, Meichtry learned how to shop frugally.

"I would get really good at seeing the weekly ads on Tuesday and designing my menu for the week for the family starting on Wednesday," he said. "And it was easy for me to go ahead and hit four different grocery stores to get my essentials for the family for the week because I knew where the better prices were on cereal or milk or chicken or tri-tip."

Meichtry used his shopping and cooking skills to provide for up to 16 families into the summer of 2020. He said his love of sports and for the late Kobe Bryant inspired him to want to do more for his community.

"I’m a big sports fan, and through Kobe’s death, I’ve been a huge Kobe fan," he said. "I’ve always loved his greatness, but seeing what he’s done after retiring from basketball inspires us. It inspires all of us to do more for the people around us. What he was doing for basketball, especially for women’s basketball and women’s sports, it’s priceless. So if we can tap into that a little bit, what a great gift. Sports does that to people. It does that to all of us."