Berserk Bar, Local Businesses Rally to Help At-Risk Populations

“It’s a twofer. We get money to restaurants to get them through this tough time, while feeding Spokane’s most in need.”

When Beth McRae opened Berserk Bar in downtown Spokane in 2018, she wanted the bar to be not just another social gathering place, but also a conduit to give back to the community whenever possible. Despite the challenge of closing their doors to prevent the spread of COVID-19, McRae and other local business owners have rallied to help those in need during these unprecedented times.

Working on behalf of the Volunteers of America (VOA), McRae has headed up an effort wherein local restaurants and bars use available kitchen space to prepare meals for individuals the VOA serves, namely Hope House and Crosswalk Youth Shelter. “It’s time consuming, it’s a lot of hard work,” said McRae. “But it needs to be done.”

Because the Hope House facility cannot provide sufficient conditions for safe social distancing, the 55 women it serves have been temporarily relocated to the Spokane Public Library downtown. As a result of the move, the women no longer have access to a kitchen of their own, making regular access to meals difficult. This is where McRae and her team have stepped in.

Already a number of local businesses have contributed, providing food or helping prepare and deliver it to those in need. “We knew Spokane was going to come together over this cause. It was never a question,” says McRae. So far Wiley’s Downtown Bistro, Boots Bakery & Lounge, The Wave Island Sports Grill, Backyard Public House, Eyvind, and several others have lent a helping hand in the campaign.

Even still, she says the VOA’s fundraiser needs continued support to get restaurants involved. “Donations really help in cooking and delivering the food, and take a big load off the shoulders of the shelters.” Berserk Bar has no kitchen, so over the last week McRae has taken it upon herself to prepare meals in the kitchen of the Baby Bar. Through her efforts, they have been able to provide breakfast and lunches on an almost daily basis between Hope House and Crosswalk Youth Shelter.

McRae says she intends to continue the campaign until at least when the VOA’s beneficiaries are able to return to their regular shelters. When the “stay home” order is lifted and it is safe to do so, Berserk Bar plans to host a number of events and fundraisers to support the small businesses downtown that were impacted during this time and hopes the community comes out to support them. “We want downtown Spokane to bounce back from this stronger than ever.”

To make a contribution to the Volunteer of America’s fundraiser, visit their donation page here.

Photos courtesy Beth McRae.