***THIS ARTICLE HAS BEEN UPDATED TO REFLECT THE FACT THAT MARIA GONZALEZ WAS ALSO A CO-FOUNDER OF LA ESQUINA DEL BUEN GUSTO RESTAURANT IN 2003.
The coronavirus pandemic has certainly taken a toll on everyone. Our lives have changed over the past ten months. Unfortunately, many of us have lost loved ones to the virus. Students have had to endure remote learning. Businesses, particularly small businesses, have suffered financially, many having had to make the difficult decision to close their doors. Some have closed permanently.
Through it all, everyone has had to learn ways to survive. Keeping spirits up has certainly been a challenge.
Healthcare workers have gone above and beyond, risking their own health to care for those who contracted COVID. Delivery workers, members of the hospitality industry, and many, many more people have gone to work to keep our nation afloat. Make no mistake, this pandemic has been a challenge for EVERYONE.
Then there are those individuals, every day citizens and small business owners who are trying to make a difference in their own way this holiday season. They should not be overlooked.
One such example is the Lumbe family. Carlos A. Lumbe and his son, Carlos, Jr., came to the United States from their native Peru in 2000. Carlos, Sr. opened a Peruvian restaurant in Union City in 2003, along with Maria Gonzalez. La Esquina Del Buen Gusto is located at 4114 Palisade Avenue. It is a typical, family-owned business, like many in Union City, serving meals to the area’s Peruvian immigrants, and I am sure, to others from different nationalities.
Carlos, Jr. started working at his dad’s restaurant when he was 16 years old. Today he is 31 and his wife and mother also work in the family restaurant. In 2017, Carlos, Jr. took over the operation of the restaurant. He says, “We have a lot of love for food and the community.”
That love is going to be on display this Thursday, Christmas Eve, December 24. From 6 pm until 8 pm the community is welcome to come to La Esquina Del Buen Gusto Restaurant to pick up a free, holiday meal. Pickup and go. There will be no indoor seating. The idea is to provide the community with a meal they can bring home.
Carlos, Jr. told Hudson TV, “Even though Union City is not a very poor area, we still have homeless and low income workers. We had donated food and clothes before, but never made an event when they can come and pick up food for Christmas. This is a way to say thank you for all the blessings. We would like to donate this food for the people who need it the most.”
A grand gesture by a family who embodies the spirit of the American dream. Carlos, Jr. says he has contacted two local shelters, one on 37th Street and the other being the local Salvation Army on 43rd Street. Any food they have left over will be donated to the shelters.
The Lumbe’s anticipate preparing between 150 and 200 meals for Christmas Eve. Carlos, Jr. says, “I will be giving baked chicken with mashed potatoes and rice, a hot chocolate cup and a bottle of water. My co-workers and family will be helping me (prepare and hand out the meals).”
I am sure Carlos, Sr. is extremely proud of his son and family for their selflessness in doing this for those individuals in need. It truly is an act of generosity by a family business which now calls Union City, New Jersey their adopted home.
“Who knows, next time we can do a bigger event for more people.”
So, if you are in need of a hot meal on Christmas Eve, stop by La Esquina Del Buen Gusto Restaurant at 4114 Palisade Avenue in Union City between 6 and 8 pm. And remember to thank the Lumbe family and wish them a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year when you are there.
They certainly deserve it.
***When the original article was published, Hudson TV had not been informed that Maria Gonzalez was a co-founder along with Carlos Lumbe, Sr.