PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) ─ As state leaders work to stem the spread of the coronavirus, neighbors and local business owners are stepping up to help others during a time of uncertainty.
Mark Russell, owner of McBride’s Pub in Providence, was at a loss when Gov. Gina Raimondo suspended dine-in services at restaurants and bars statewide.
Russell said he’d prepared nearly 500 pounds of corned beef ahead of time for St. Patrick’s Day, but since he couldn’t open his dining room for the holiday, he was left with an abundance of the Irish staple.
Rather than let it all go to waste, Russell decided to donate the prepared food to Operation Stand Down, a nonprofit organization that helps homeless veterans.
Members of the organization arrived at McBride’s Wednesday morning to help Russell pack up the food and transport it to those who could use a good meal.
“They came in, packed a bunch of stuff, but we didn’t hug, we elbowed!” Russel exclaimed.
He’s not alone on his quest to help others during the outbreak.
Perry Raso, owner of Matunuck Oyster Bar in Wakefield, immediately thought of local students who rely on their schools to provide them with daily meals.
With schools closed because of the virus, Raso said he knew he had to prevent those children from going hungry. That’s when his employee gave him the idea to provide everything on the restaurant’s children’s menu for free until school resumes.
“We are happy to help out the community, they help us through the year, and when we can step up and do something like this we are happy to do it,” Raso said.
Raso said he’s also extended the offer to senior citizens and families in need, especially after seeing how many residents ordered “pondside” pickup.
“I am worried about my own business but my business relies on the community,” he said. It’s part of my business to help the community when I can.”
Matunuck is also offering free delivery in South Kingstown, Narragansett and Charlestown.
Stores across Rhode Island are also offering designated shopping hours for those most vulnerable to the virus, including Stop & Shop.
The Rhode Island Office of Healthy Aging compiled a list of stores that are offering allotted shopping hours for the at-risk population.
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