CHINO, Calif. — When COVID-19 first made its way through San Bernardino County, small businesses were among the first to get shut down.
Many owners said that it’s been a rocky few months, but one Chino resident set out to do what she could to help them during the hard times by bringing food trucks to her neighborhood every two weeks.
Chocolate drizzled strawberries with peanuts? Yes, please!
"Mmmm! It’s so good!" said Warren Hino, a resident of the Chino Preserve. He enjoyed a sweet treat from StickABerry, one of the food trucks that came to the neighborhood over the weekend.
Warren Hino lives right around the corner and said that he does not miss a single Saturday the food trucks are here for dinner.
"So this is actually one of my favorite hamburger places," Hino showed. "The blue cheese burger is super good. I love it.”
The Burger Babes are one of about 35 food trucks Lissa Fraga and her husband have searched out and invited to come to their Chino neighborhood in the last six months.
“When the pandemic started and the world kind of shut down, we decided to reach out to local business owners and food trucks and see how we could help them," said Fraga. "Being a small business owner ourselves, we knew the struggle, so we reached out and we started making connections and every two weeks we bring in a sweet truck and a savory truck and we try to help their business thrive through the pandemic.”
They have. Fraga has brought out cinnamon rolls, ice cream bars, burgers, seafood, the list goes on and on.
“I’m a mortgage broker, so I don’t know food trucks or the business at all, but Instagram and Facebook and Twitter has helped me find all of these amazing food trucks,” said Fraga.
What Fraga shrugs off as “no big deal” has meant the world to many of the owners who tell her this opportunity was their last sprinkle of hope.
"Several times I’ve been moved to tears when at the end of the night people come back to me and they say oh my gosh Lissa, on their way home they’re texting me like, you don’t even know, you’ve saved us this week, you’ve saved us this month, we can pay our mortgage. That’s why I do it.”
It’s one of the reasons why the owners of StickABerry, Deanna and Greg Grimm, said they're so grateful to be here.
"Very excited to be up and running again, yes, because you still had to pay your bills," explained Deanna Grimm. "You still had to pay rent and insurance and license fees, whether you’re working or not, so this is a good time to catch up.”
A win-win, for the business owners who typically sell up to 180 orders and for the community with about 3,000 homes.
“You know it’s always really nice to be able to support small businesses, get some really good food, like really gourmet stuff. I love it," said Hino.
While neighbors enjoy the good eats, the small business owners are grateful for the opportunity to serve them. It's a sweet deal all around.