Boyle Heights nonprofit feeds undocumented restaurant workers during pandemic Thanksgiving

Othón Nolasco (left) and Damián Diaz (right) are two of the co-founders of the nonprofit No Us Without You. Their organization has been helping undocumented restaurant workers facing food insecurity since the early days of the coronavirus pandemic. They began with a goal of feeding 30 families a week. They’re currently providing a week’s worth of meals to more than 1,300 families. Photo by Mel Castro.

As many people prepare for a Thanksgiving like none other, thousands of Californians aren’t sure if they’ll be enjoying the traditional turkey with all the fixings. COVID-19 has cost livelihoods, shuttered businesses, and left a lot of people not knowing where they’ll get their next meal — even restaurant workers. 

From the early days of the pandemic, the nonprofit No Us Without You has been helping undocumented restaurant employees.

In April, when KCRW first spoke with them, they were feeding around 160 families. Now they’re serving more than 1,300.

In the run-up to Thanksgiving, one of the organization’s co-founders, Othón Nolasco, says they’ve been particularly busy. On November 14, No Us Without You asked their Instagram followers for donations, so they could provide all the families they serve with a turkey dinner for the holiday.

“I’m very proud and happy to say that yes, we were able to meet our goal,” says Nolasco. “For $20, we were able to give everyone a 14 - 16 pound hen turkey.”

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