Virginia Restaurant Owner Delivering Hundreds of Free Meals to Seniors and Healthcare Workers
"If you're going to go down, go down doing something good for the community."
Like many other restaurants impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, Juan More Taco in Fredericksburg, Virginia, has transitioned to carry-out orders only.
But owner Maria Martin told WUSA9 that she couldn’t stop at just that. She wanted to do something more.
"My heart told me to do something. If you're going to go down, go down doing something good for the community," Martin told the station. "I grew up in Honduras, and I know what it is to need something and not be able to have it. I know what it is to go to bed and be hungry and I just don't want anybody to go through that.”
So, Martin took to Facebook to inform her customers that Juan More Taco was going to start delivering free meals to the elderly—a population, she feared, was at risk of being forgotten.
The response, Martin said, was overwhelming. Some customers have donated as much as $1,000, while others have volunteered to help safely deliver the meals. Several local Girl Scout troops have provided cookies to send with the deliveries, and this week a local bookstore sent books. Recently, Martin and her crew have started delivering to local healthcare workers as well. They are currently making 30 meal deliveries a day.
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And even though it’s unclear whether or not she restaurant will survive the pandemic, Martin told WUSA9 that her biggest fear is her staff.
"For me, at this point, I'm not afraid of losing the restaurant,” she revealed. “That's not my priority, my priority is my employees. They're all college students and my fear is if they are going to have money for rent tomorrow.”
Martin plans to provide the free meals as long as possible. Those interested in contributing should visit Juan More Taco's Facebook page for more information.