WINTER GARDEN, Fla. — With millions losing jobs across the country during the coronavirus pandemic, money for many is tight, and some families are struggling to keep food on the table.
- The Great Greek Grill is offering free meals on Monday
- Restaurant hoping to help those in need
- Grill located at 16045 New Independence Pkwy Suite 100, Winter Garden
One Winter Garden restaurant is helping make sure people in the community aren’t going hungry.
Inside the Great Greek Grill, the tables are bare, and the chairs are empty. Yet, in the kitchen, the restaurant is alive.
The Winter Garden restaurant is just six months old and has already flipped it’s business model to stay afloat during the pandemic.
“Remarkably difficult. It required a good amount of pivoting,” said manager Richard Hawkins.
For now, they are only offering take out. But somehow, they are staying busy even as neighbors close down.
“Everyone is struggling to make ends meet,” Hawkins said.
Once a week, they offer a free meal for those who’ve lost their jobs and have been impacted by coronavirus.
“A lot of people are just scared, and there’s not a lot of good information from their companies that they’re getting, especially at the worker level for foodservice that has been impacted, the people we’ve been talking to. So they’re happy we’re here, and they’re happy that we’re able to give them something and sometimes just a listening ear as they come in and out of their lives,” Hawkins said.
Over a hundred people now come in every week. The Great Greek is giving a gyro and salad to those in the Winter Garden and surrounding communities during the pandemic on Mondays.
“A lot of tears. I mean, not only are we giving away free food, but we asked them how they’re doing and just tried to talk to them, meet them as a human,” he said.
As many businesses and families struggle to make ends meet in the eye of the pandemic, those at Great Greek are hopeful this one small act of kindness helps people pull through.
“I mean, giving one meal away to someone doesn’t change their life, but it changes their day in a way that we hope could change their week and show that at the end of the day, there are still people out here helping,” Hawkins said.
They say giving away these meals has also kept their staff busy on what would typically be a slow day, helping prevent layoffs.
Rachael Krause | Orange County, News 13