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The Chowdown Cincinnati Facebook group is all about good food and positivity.
“You’re not allowed to post negative reviews,” Brandon Scott Perry told McClatchy News. “Travis Setter, who runs the group, says ‘there’s plenty of places you can go to blast a company and this isn’t for that.’”
The group has nearly 19,000 members, many of whom turn to the group to share their favorite restaurants or seek recommendations.
“Post pictures (make em good). Have fun. Don’t stress. Enjoy the food around you,” the group tells members. “Nothing negative. Ever.”
The group of foodies rallied last week to provide a very special night on the town for two women whose lives have been touched by cancer.
On Thursday, member Hanna Elizabeth shared a post from another Facebook group to the Chowdown page.
Kathleen Lovett was trying to sell a $250 gift card to Jeff Ruby — a Cincinnati steakhouse — to help pay some bills.
Her husband recently died of cancer.
“This was meant for my husband and I to enjoy together especially since he was diagnosed with terminal cancer but unfortunately he passed away recently before we could go,” the post said. “I would love to see it go to somebody to put it towards a great time and since my income has recently plummeted, I could possibly pay some bills.”
Perry, who lives in northern Kentucky, saw the post and knew he wanted to help.
He reached out to Lovett with a proposal: He’d buy the gift card for $300 on the condition that Lovett join him and his wife for dinner.
Perry soon learned that a woman named Jen Wall had commented on Kathleen’s post, explaining that she’d purchase the gift card if she could because she knows what Lovett is going through.
“If I had the money, I’d buy it in a heartbeat,” Wall wrote. “I’m currently battling stage 4 cancer so I completely feel for this person. I’m so sorry she’s going through this.”
Chad Ishmael, a friend of Perry’s since high school, made a suggestion: invite Wall along. She agreed and the plan was set.
On Saturday, Jeff Ruby sent its corporate driver and van to pick up Lovett and Wall along with Ishmael, Perry and their two wives.
The group of six dined on steak and lobster and “enough sides to feed an army” before one more surprise was revealed to Lovett and Wall.
Before the dinner, Perry started collecting donations for Lovett and Wall through Venmo. The Chowdown group raised $1,000 in two days.
Lovett and Wall were each gifted $500 after dinner to help with medical bills and other expenses.
Perry called it “a very heart-fulfilling night for all of us.”
“We’re all in this game together,” he added. “It’s not always about winning, a lot of times it’s helping other people win a game as well.”