HASTINGS, Mich. — A local community foundation is stepping up and helping some of the businesses being hit the hardest right now: restaurants all across Barry County.
Bonnie Gettys, the president of the Barry Community Foundation, says they never could have imagined what they’re doing this year. “I had no idea 25 years ago when we were all sitting around talking about an organization called the Community Foundation, how important it would be," Gettys told FOX 17 on Thursday. "Talking with one of our restaurant owners, he went from 40 employees to 5.”
The Barry Community Foundation, with the help of its donor groups, presented restaurants with cash or purchased gift cards from them, totaling about $83,000 to 50 of the restaurants. “We then in turn, with those gift cards, gave them to our local veterans affairs office, the United Way and our food banks, and were using those to feed families who have food insecurity, so this is a win-win-win,” Gettys explained.
One of the beneficiaries, Mitten Pizza in Middleville, is taking the nice gesture and paying it forward with free pizza, daily in January. “We’ll just make a Facebook post at 1 or 2 o’clock and say, ‘Hey, if you’re a family in need or whatever, shoot us a message,’ and we get a ton. So we pick three or four people a day and we go that route. That way we know it’s staying in our community,” explained Jamie Zichterman, owner of Mitten Pizza.
In a year that’s been so tough on so many, the Barry Community Foundation is proving that this is still the season of giving.