How Central Texas businesses are feeding the front lines of the COVID-19 outbreak


SAN MARCOS, Texas (KXAN) — Many small businesses have been hit hard by the pandemic, facing layoffs, furloughs and thousands of dollars in lost revenue with cities and the economy essentially shut down.

But some are finding ways to help others.

“Everyone is working to keep their businesses alive, but I think our bigger goal is keeping people alive,” says Liz McGhee, co-owner of The CoKitchen & Red Bus Bake Shop in San Marcos.

The commercial kitchen and bake shop are partnering to provide healthcare workers with meals for themselves and their families.

“Right now, they can’t make it to the grocery store and they’re not able to make meals for their families because they don’t have time and they’re exhausted,” McGhee says.

Food production started with around 100 meals on Monday.

Neighboring business Gumbys Pizza is delivering groceries and pies.

“San Marcos really responded really well and honestly even people from out of state and out of town started sending us money. I believe we’ve got about $800 dollars in donations, so far and we’ve already put out $600 of that back to the community,” says owner Adam Higdon.

Deliveries started last week, he says.

“We’ve had everything from tears to having trouble speaking. A lot of these people are working 12 and 14 hour shifts and by the time they leave, the curfew is already in effect and they can’t do anything for themselves,” Higdon says.

Mozart’s Coffee Roasters and Black’s Barbecue have teamed up for “Black N Brew,” providing free food to first responders and medical workers.

“We thought it only made sense to make sure that we try to help do our best for all of the first responders out there that need to actually be working for us to continue working,” says Ken Leonard, Mozart’s Coffee Roasters owner.

“It’s kind of friends helping friends,” says Barrett Black, 4th Generation Pit-master at Black’s.

Taking care of those who are taking care of everyone else.

“They’ve thanked us but we’ve in return said, ‘You don’t need to be thanking us, we’re thanking you,” Leonard says.

This became so much more than just a regular little delivery thing, this is bringing small amounts of hope in the middle of this pandemic,” says Higdon.

How to help

The CoKitchen hopes to raise money and keep the initiative alive through GoFundMe.

The meals are available for healthcare workers to pick up this week, but McGhee says she’s in contact with Central Texas Medical Center and Ascension Seton Hays to coordinate a drop off directly to medical campuses.

“That is one of the hardest things to do right now because we are in a pandemic and this has never happened before, trying to find safe zones is hard, so we are coordinating with the hospitals now,” she says.

If you’d like to pay it forward with a Gumbys grocery box or pizza for front line workers, Higdon says you can add a note when you order online.

If you or someone you know is in need of food from Gumbys, you can fill out a form here.

“If you guys are somebody around here that needs help, we’re not going to be charging you anything, we’re just trying to get food to you, so let us know,” Higdon says.

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