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  • Writer's pictureMelissa Day

Community that Cares

It's heartening to come across stories of resilience and community support in a world that has seen its fair share of challenges. Today, we want to share with you the true story of Merry Market Meals, a program that started as a response to the pandemic's changing landscape.

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, restaurants faced unprecedented challenges. But during this trying time, we discovered an opportunity to make a positive impact. We realized that our restaurant could be more than just a place to enjoy a meal; it could be a beacon of hope for our community. With power outages due to storms, electricity losses, and the lingering effects of COVID, many in our area needed support. That's when the idea of "market meals" was born.

Market meals were prepared dishes that could be quickly heated up, providing a convenient solution for those who needed a meal or two. What started as a humble initiative gradually evolved into something much bigger. Local churches and nonprofit organizations working with people with disabilities and senior citizens contacted us for assistance. They, too, saw the potential to help those in need through our market meals.

As the pandemic raged, we witnessed the financial strain on older senior citizens and others who lost their jobs or whose work hours were drastically reduced. We knew we had to step up and extend our support. And so, we began giving these meals to those who needed them most.

The response from our loyal customers and community warmed our hearts even more. They saw our impact on the community and wanted to be a part of it, which led to the birth of the "Merry Market Meals" program. Customers could now prepay for meals and receive coupons to be used like cash at our register. The beauty of this system was that it allowed people to contribute in a way that suited their budgets, from $10-$20 to even more significant amounts.

The board with donations for meals.

In the last two years of operation, our restaurant had witnessed the incredible generosity of our community. What's truly remarkable is that no one ever took advantage of the situation. People didn't just use the coupons for their benefit; they used them as a lesson in kindness and compassion. They were willing to pay it forward, knowing that helping others was the true reward.

One poignant moment stands out in our memory. Unaware of our program, a gentleman walked into our restaurant one day. As he looked around and considered his options, we sensed he was hesitant to make a purchase. We started a conversation and learned about his situation. He had been laid off from his job, had a wife and two young kids to care for, and was facing tough times. We explained the Merry Market Meals initiative, showing him our pre-paid coupon board. Seeing the relief and gratitude in his eyes was a moment of pure connection and community spirit. And it still gives us goosebumps.

This journey has reinforced our belief that it's always better to reach out and help those in need. It has shown us that people are inherently compassionate and that, when given the opportunity, they will rise to the occasion. Merry Market Meals symbolizes hope, resilience, and the enduring power of community care.

We invite you to join us in spreading kindness, one market meal at a time, and to never be afraid to ask for help. Together, we can make a difference in the lives of those who need it most.

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