Restaurants feed kids for free during coronavirus pandemic

For the last few weeks, schools across the country have been shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic. Many students rely on school lunches to stay fed during the day, so some family-owned restaurants have started giving free lunches to any child who needs them.

Several restaurants spoke with Yahoo Lifestyle about how they are taking action and using their establishments to feed their communities.

Rachel Siev, owner of Rachel's Bar and Grill in Bad Axe, Mich. has been offering free kid’s meals and says, "I just think it helps out parents; they don't need to worry about what they are preparing for dinner for their children." 

Fort Lauderdale restaurant Stoner’s Pizza Joint has pledged 10,000 slices for kids who are without meals and has been distributing them through schools, daycare centers, churches and other locations around their community. But as the need for meals has grown the meals have expanded to include families, first responders, doctors, nurses and medical staff. Owner John Stetson has donated to the families unit at the Salvation Army and to the Peanut Butter & Jelly Project this week alone.

Restaurant owners have said that the response from their respective communities has been extremely positive, so much so that many of them have received donations. Wright’s BBQ owner Jordan Wright says his restaurant “raised over $3,700 in a day," while Manger Restaurant + Wine Bar owner Mike Willenbring, who has been loading up coolers outside his restaurant with grab-and-go-style lunches and dinners, said that he received so many donations he decided to create a donation button on his website.

Despite these difficult times, these restaurateurs stress the importance of positivity. Owners Joe and Ginny Leavens from Homewood Bagel Company in Homewood, Ala. stay positive by appreciating the fact that they are able to stay open. “We are just trying to fight through like everybody else,” they say.

“During these hard times we become even stronger,” adds Siev.

What local restaurants are facing during this pandemic is tough, but many continue to be a beacon of hope to those in their communities who need them the most.

For the latest coronavirus news and updates, follow along at According to experts, people over 60 and those who are immunocompromised continue to be the most at risk. If you have questions, please reference the CDC and WHO’s resource guides. 

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