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Paying it forward: How receipts on a wall are helping feed the less fortunate in Perth County

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Customers at Joe’s Diner in Stratford and St. Marys have a new option on the menu -- giving a meal to a stranger in need. 

The restaurant’s new Pay It Forward initiative issues a receipt every time a customer purchases a meal for the less fortunate.

The receipt is then pinned up on the wall.

Anyone who could use a free meal is invited to take a chit off the wall and hand it to a server, no questions asked. 

“We saw a post circulating online about a restaurant in Pembroke doing it. We immediately thought with the need for meals around this area, we would be a perfect location to give it a shot,” said Daniel Myers, the owner of Joe’s Diner.

Since announcing the initiative on social media Friday, the post by Joe’s Diner has been shared over 500 times on Facebook. 

As of Wednesday afternoon, over 200 meals for the needy have been purchased.

“The response has been huge,” said Myers. “Now we’re trying to figure out how we can disperse meals a little more broadly than just people coming in and grabbing them.”

Joe’s Diner is also donating meal tickets to local charities like the Optimism Place Women’s Shelter and the Connection Centre.

“This is a really nice way to make it more comfortable for people that don't want stand out because they’ve taken one of those chits,” explained Katie Graham, a board member for Optimism Place Women’s Shelter.

The outpouring of community support has convinced Joe’s Diner to give the Pay It Forward wall a permanent place in the restaurant. 

“All year round, there’s people that can use it,” Myers said.

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