THE Cove restaurant staff have been cooking up a storm to provide Ballina’s needy with more than $15,000 worth of free meals through their Paying it Forward Program.
That equates to more than 14,000 meals.
The program began when coronavirus (COVID-19) hit the Ballina Shire in March, and restaurant owner Danny Singh realised vulnerable people in the community would need this vital service.
Many customers began paying their own meals forward in order for others in need to have a hot nourishing meal for free.
“The support we received for this program has been overwhelming,” Mr Singh said.
“A few customers here an there are still paying it forward, it’s truly been a flow on effect.
“People are so kind.
“It’s only been possible because of the local community, local businesses and the Rotary Club of Ballina on Richmond.”
Showing true community spirit, Mr Singh has decided to keep the program going, even after restrictions were lifted to stage three last Friday.
“We are still going for a few more weeks after the restrictions lift or until the other community organisations reopen to be able to support the needy at a greater capacity,” he said.
He said to the response to the generosity had been amazing.
“There is a lot of people who were struggling, who lost their job overnight, who are now homeless and suffering from domestic violence,” he said.
On Friday, the restaurant was able to reopen its doors to ten customer’s at a time.
“It felt “perfect” and it was an awesome feeling to see people sitting at tables again,” he said.
“The staff are feeling so good about being open again, even in this restricted way.
“But all Ballina businesses have suffered because of this pandemic, the time to support local businesses is now while everyone tries to get back on their feet.”
He thanked the local community and local business, staff, customers, the Rotary Club of Ballina on Richmond and The Northern Star for supporting them to make the program possible.
“We feel very blessed to be able to even start this off, then we got that extra support to keep it going,” he said.
“We were such in a better position to help people who really needed it out there.”
Find The Cove at 8/216 – 234 River Street, Ballina (next to the RSL), from 7am-2pm Tuesday to Sunday and for dinner from 5.30pm till late Tuesday to Saturday.