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Shiawassee County restaurants gets boost from new meal program

Restaurants get $10 for meals that will be given away to struggling families
Published: Mar. 10, 2021 at 7:16 PM EST
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SHIAWASSEE COUNTY, Mich. (WJRT) - A new program in Shiawassee County officially kicked off Wednesday to help families in need and struggling restaurants at the same time.

People can get a free meal from restaurants with no questions asked while restaurants get a boost from community support.

Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 3 to 5 p.m. for roughly the next month, the Shiawassee SOARs program will be helping to feed hundreds of people in need of a warm meal. SOARs stands for Supporting Our Area Restaurants.

“It includes food from 16 different locally owned, non-franchise restaurants within the county at 11 different sites in eight different towns or cities,” said Laura Archer, CEO of the Shiawassee County YMCA.

Her organization is one of several distribution sites for the meals. The program was made possible through a $100,000 grant from the United Way of Genesee and Shiawassee Counties.

“They’re grateful for the economic support, because again we know with such a limited capacity they’ve been struggling just like all businesses have during COVID-19,” Archer said. “But they’re even more excited and they expressed this that they’re so happy to be able to give back to the community.”

Participating restaurants are paid $10 per meal through the grant. They cook the food and meals are distributed at certain locations across the county. Anyone Shiawassee County resident can simply show up and receive a meal with no questions asked.

Funding for the program will last through April 2, but Archer already is hoping to expand the program and extend that date into May.

“We just hope we’ll be able to get some other funding sources as well to do two things: 1, expand our restaurant base. We’d rather share broadly instead of deeply,” she said. “But also be able to expand the weeks we’re able to offer this program to our communities, because we know after April 2 the need will still be there.”

Shiawassee County restaurants participating in the program are:

  • Woody’s Bancroft Tavern, 117 Warren St. in Bancroft.
  • Matador’s Pizza, 123 S. Saginaw St. in Byron.
  • South 401 -- distributed at Shiawassee Hope, 521 E. Williams St. in Owosso.
  • Stomping Grounds Coffee, Tiger Shark Café and Union Station Smokehouse -- all distributed at the Durand Chamber of Commerce, 109 N. Saginaw St.
  • Laingsburg Dairy Den, 705 E. Grand River Road.
  • Greg & Lou’s Family Restaurant, Korner Pub, Newport and Roma’s Back Door -- all distributed at the Shiawassee Family YMCA, 515 W. Main St. in Owosso.
  • Joe-Lee’s Crosswind Café, 208 Airport Dr. in Owosso.
  • Z-Hall, 1775 Owosso Ave. in Owosso.
  • Amy’s Downtown Diner, 115 S. Main St. in Perry.
  • Charlie’s Bar & Grill, 136 N. Main St. in Perry.
  • Ole General Store & Café, 100 E. Main St. in Vernon.

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