Alan and Bonnie Clark with their weekly armload of Suncoast Bakery fresh bread. Photo is by Lisa Jensen.
Alan and Bonnie Clark with their weekly armload of Suncoast Bakery fresh bread. Photo is by Lisa Jensen.

The idea got up and running during the peak of the COVID restrictions. “Nobody wanted to go to restaurants and we got to talking,” explained Alan Clark. “It may be fading from your memory already but people all over San Benito County were terrified to go out and be around other people. Remember that?”

Residents were hunkered down in their apartments and houses. “Everybody [who could] was working from home,” he said. Consumers turned to the big guys like Amazon and Wayfair.

Many family-run, unique businesses in our community were struggling or even worse, devastated. 

So, Alan and his wife Bonnie got together with their adult kids with a plan. They decided that when ever possible, one family would organize the purchase of dinner at a local restaurant, pick it up for everyone and distribute it. “If you’ve been in this county a while, you’ve seen restaurants come and go,” Clark said. They did not want to see some of their local favorites disappear.

Clark pointed out,“Who wants to cook every Friday night anyway?”

This was their extended family and pod COVID-era top picks for Hollister take-out:

  • Super Noodles
  • Paines
  • Cheung Sheng
  • Suncoast Bakery

Thanks to their irresistibly yeasty, fresh bread and generous servings, Suncoast Bakery was firmly in the top four. “And the kids liked it,” Alan added. Once they settled into the habit, they expanded the concept to an even larger circle. “So we got the idea to bring it to the Community Foundation and share it with all the nonprofits there,” Alan said.

From the BenitoLink team (a hungry group) perspective, Fridays around the office became a treat. The same was true for all the nonprofits in the Community Foundation for San Benito County office building. Other beneficiaries of the Clarks’ plan were the Community Foundation, BenitoLink, Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA), Emmaus House and United Way.

Seeing the good old-fashioned giving going on, Suncoast owners Lisa and David Jensen returned the favor. Alan said, “They were very appreciative and they would always throw something extra in—another loaf of fresh bread or some cookies.”

COVID has calmed and what started as a gesture of several extra loaves being handed around continues. In June, Alan dropped by the Epicenter to unload 14 loaves of many flavors on the various nonprofits’ desks.  Two and a half years into COVID the dedication to local businesses continues, only now the Clarks, thanks to experience, can occasionally even pair up the recipient with their favorite bread.


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