A small community restaurant in Georgia is making national headlines over a heartwarming donation-based giving board that offers food and drinks to customers in need of a little help.
Stoney’s Family Restaurant in Clarkesville, Georgia, has been in the community for 55 years.
People come for delicious southern food served with a warm smile from restaurant staff who work to make the store feel like a slice of home.
“We stick together, we’re a strong community,” cashier Ruby Evans told WXIA-TV. “We are looking out for each other.”
One of the tangible ways the community looks out for one another is through the restaurant’s giving board which is displayed inside the establishment.
Pinned to the giving board are slips of paper that represent food or drinks that have already been paid for by other customers so that a customer in need can have a meal, no questions asked.
“One cup of coffee,” “five dollars,” or perhaps, “breakfast plate,” are just a few examples of what a customer might find written on a piece of paper.
Evans said that many people will donate a full meal, while others will offer up a drink or a few dollars to make a meal more affordable. The restaurant has even started accepting donations over the phone and by mail.
She said that while donations have been easily obtained, customers have felt somewhat reluctant to accept the gift of a free menu item.
“A lot of people are really hesitant, and I’m like, ‘That’s what it’s there for! Just take it, no judgment,'” Evans said.
Stoney’s wrote on Facebook that the board is there to help anyone who is having a bad day, week, or even years of life.
“In fact, if you are uncomfortable, you don’t even have to take the ticket down … just kinda nod your head toward the board when ordering to let the girls up front know and not a single word will be said … and as always, thank you all for being the best community EVER!!!!” restaurant staff wrote.
Stoney’s giving board program inspired the staff of the second-hand thrift store next door to start up a giving board of their own, offering warm wintery items like hats and coats to customers in need.
“Everybody gets down on their luck, and just having that little support to pick you up can change your entire world,” thrift store owner Alexia Dodson said.
The goal is simply to make people feel full and loved, “to put a smile on someone’s face and a hot meal in someone’s tummy,” Stoney’s Family Restaurant said.
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