'We will get through this together': Local group delivering food and hope from restaurants
A local group known as We Are All In This Together is delivering food and hope for area restaurants.
At the start of the pandemic, the Restoules wanted to support a friend's restaurant.
"And just like that we had 150 orders and we were like, 'oh, we are on to something,'" said Jennifer Restoule.
The family tapped into five different neighbourhood groups in Waterloo Region, starting the We Are All In This Together group, now known as WAAITT.
"It offers our local restaurants a bit of hope," said Travis Restoule.
About a dozen restaurants have participated. More than 24 volunteers deliver meals each week to members like Maureen Bartlett, who has been receiving them since the start.
"We know we were supporting small, local restaurants to hopefully keep their heads afloat," Bartlett said.
The group has grown to more than 1,200 members and has received attention from Canadian hockey star Cassie Campbell.
"The support and support by volunteers has been truly amazing, so keep up the great work and we will get through this together," said the former Team Canada captain.
The weekly orders provide a bit of a financial boost to restaurants by about $200,000.
"We averaged out each meal to about $10, so that's about 20,000 meals we've delivered from local restaurants," Travis said.
"It just feels good to help out in a small way," Bartlett said.
Owners like Mario from Mediteranno taking to social media to say how the business has been humbled by the response.
The Restoules say while the restaurant owners have been grateful, they believe the weekly service has also delivered a sense of hope, comraderie and connection.
"They're overjoyed and they are very emotional for our help," Jennifer said. "We were helping others, but they didn't realize that they were helping us too."