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Au Gres community raises thousands of dollars to support local restaurants

A new effort underway in Au Gres has raised thousands of dollars for the community’s restaurants and donations are still being accepted until the end of the month.
Published: Jan. 20, 2021 at 3:16 PM EST
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AU GRES, Mich. (WJRT) - A new effort underway in Au Gres has raised thousands of dollars for the community’s restaurants and donations are still being accepted until the end of the month.

The Stimulate Our Au Gres Restaurants, or SOAR, effort began just a few days ago from a collaboration between Au Gres Mayor Michael Hoadley and City Manager Dale Wiltse. Hoadley and Wiltse wanted to donate their stimulus checks to the four restaurants in town by buying gift cards and once they did, they decided to open it up for more donations and more gift cards.

It began with a post on social media that quickly grew and within just a few days, the community had donated more than $6,000, which was its original goal.

“It’s great to be a part of a community that is there to help everybody,” said Allison Wiltse, with Ali’s UpNorth restaurant.

Allison Wiltse previously owned the Ali’s UpNorth restaurant and still works with the owners to keep it up and running. She said the fact that this new effort has already exceeded its goal just shows what Au Gres is all about.

“It just, again, goes to show how our community does come together and you know there are people there to support,” she said.

On February 1, all of the money that has been raised will be divided by four and $15 gift cards will be purchased at each of the restaurants in town.

The restaurants included are Ali’s UpNorth, B’s Family Restaurant, H&H Bakery and Restaurant, and T&C Lounge.

“Recognizing the terrible year we’ve been faced over many fronts was to give them that shot in the arm with the hopes that when we do reopen in February that they can hit the ground running,” Hoadley said.

The gift cards will be bundled together in a four-pack and will be sold for $40, which is a $20 savings.

“The way we have it figured out, for every dollar donation we take in will bring back roughly three times the money, which is really, really a big amount in this community,” Dale Wiltse said.

Au Gres is a town of around 900 people and Hoadley said this community support is a true testament to the people that live there and visit there.

“I’m so proud of this community,” he said. “It’s the way we come together on all these things. 2020 was more than just COVID. We had the flood back in May and we’ve had other challenges along the way too and yet our community still comes together and not give up.”

Donations for this effort will be accepted through the end of the month. Anyone interested in donating can do so by emailing saveageateries@gmail.com.

Once available, the gift card bundles will be sold at each of the participating restaurants or by contacting Hoadley and Dale Wiltse.

Dale Wiltse said that restaurants are a foundation for the Au Gres community and have been donating, promoting, and supporting the community for over 50 years and that this can be the time to give back and help them out.

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