Pinto Thai Kitchen donates meals, fights food insecurity


Photo courtesy of Chartjongkol Yodtheerak Ann

Pinto Thai Kitchen at 1931 Central St. The restaurant has donated hundreds of meals to people in need during the pandemic.

Nandipa Siluma, Reporter

When the pandemic first hit in March of last year, Chartjongkol Yodtheerak Ann, owner of Pinto Thai Kitchen, was worried her business might shut down — a fate many Evanston staples did ultimately face.

But drawing from her Buddhist faith, Ann said she stuck to the mantra, “the more you give, the more you get back.”

The restaurant started partnering with Connections for the Homeless to provide meals to people in the community. Currently, Ann and her staff of seven work with Connections to provide up to 140 meals each night to families experiencing food insecurity .

Staff at Connections will reach out to Pinto Thai with the number of meals the organization is hoping to deliver that day. Sometimes, families will also directly call the restaurant to ask for food. Other times, customers call in and offer to pay it forward, buying meals for those who need it.

Ann said she would not have been able to continue daily donations without the help of her team, which includes five chefs and one delivery person. On busy days, Ann said restaurant staff members voluntarily come to work two hours early to ensure they finish preparing the meals for Connections.

“We all volunteer and work hard to make that happen,” said Supontip Preeperm, who has been a waitress at Pinto Thai since 2015. “We are doing our small part to get meals to those who are in need.”

Pinto Thai Kitchen has stepped up to help the Evanston community in the past. In December of 2020, the restaurant began a fundraiser for the Jackson family, who lost their house in a fire.

In February, Pinto Thai held a profit-sharing initiative for the Evanston Animal Shelter, which raised over $500 for the shelter. The Pinto Thai team themselves donated another nearly $165 .

Evanston resident Ande Breunig, founder of the Support Evanston Shops, Salons and Studios Facebook page said Pinto Thai was one of her favorite restaurants, both because of its food and the work its team members have done for Evanston residents.

“They are so community-oriented and have done an incredible amount of donations and community support throughout COVID and beyond,” Breunig said.

Overwhelmed by the support, Ann’s mother encouraged her to “allow the people to give, they want to give.”

Quoting Mother Teresa, Ann said, “If you can’t feed a hundred people, then just feed one.”

Email: [email protected] 

Twitter: @nandipasiluma

Related Stories:

Evanston residents show support to health care workers

Connections for the Homeless reopens full time drop-in services since 2015