OWOSSO (WJRT) (03/12/18) - Downtown Owosso's O-Town Cafe is now in the business of paying it forward.
"This is awesome. Being able to feed people that can't afford it is really cool. We had one guy come in and say I feel like a real person. I'm like, dude, you are a real person," said O-Town Cafe owner Steve Cohen.
O-Town's new "suspended meal" program thrives off of customers buying a little something extra.
"You pay $7.76 plus tax and you're paying for a meal for the next person or you can buy a drink. If someone wants to pay for a coffee, it's $1.76. That's it. It's simple," said Cohen.
Suspended meals are available to anyone who might need assistance. The restaurant is making an effort to help people who spend the night at the Salvation Army's new warming center just down the road.
"We open an hour early so we can feed them. Every day, we're feeding between seven and 15 people," said Cohen.
Since the suspended meal program began about a month ago, more than 175 meals have been served.
"To be able to order in a restaurant and order whatever they want, they don't just get what's being served. They really appreciate it," said Cohen.
The Owosso Eats on-line ordering and delivery service is making it easy for customers to contribute from home.
"Think for the month of February, through ours, we had donated about 20 sandwiches or so. We're hoping that March is a lot bigger," said Owosso Eats owner Jon Hockman.
Fiesta Salon is also participating, allowing customers to pay it forward with haircuts. The hope is that more businesses will jump on board as well.
"Absolutely. I would love to see more people come in, and I want it to get bigger and help as much as we possibly can," said Fiesta Salon manager Andrea Phillips.