ALLENDALE, Mich. — Members of the Facebook group 'Allendale Informed' are coming together each week for one big tip to support local restaurants struggling amid the pandemic.
Meegan Zickus, a professor at Grand Valley State University and an administrator of the group, says it was inspired by the 'Tip Back Thursday' movement started by Jenna Arcidiacono in Grand Rapids.
"We took a lot of inspiration from Chef Jenna and others like her, who are really trying to provide local servers and staff with financial and moral support," Zickus told FOX 17 News. "So, we basically took time over the last two months to raise a weekly community donation for one big tip...the entire amount of those proceeds, usually around $200 to $400, were donated to restaurants."
One tip to Trail Point Brewing Company reached more than $1,500 dollars, thanks to a matching donation from the owners.
Zickus said the goal is to support every sit-down restaurant in Allendale.
As of the this week, only three remain.
"We post the Venmo for the restaurant, and [members] took it upon themselves to donate every week," she said. "It has been such a hard time for so many people throughout COVID; it was just really nice to see some momentum and community outreach and some goodwill."
She continued,"The important things is obviously the financial part, but it's also making people feel appreciated... mostly everyone has been just surprised, and thankful, and a little bit in shock that the community took the time to do something to support them."
'One Big Tip' will continue despite restaurants returning to 50 percent capacity this week.
"We plan on finishing strong," Zickus explained. "The goal was really to reach every local server with some support, so I think as long as the donations continue to be strong that we like to make sure that we got to every one in Allendale."
Zickus said members have already started suggesting other ways to help next, including supporting day cares, EMS workers and nursing homes.