Local restaurant owners give back through donations during virus outbreak

Paul and Kari Jacobs enjoy drinks at Shep’s Place in Weatherford served by Shep’s employee Sheri Lucas on Friday before the restaurant was closed down temporarily. Owners John and Jennifer Shepherd have since donated perishable food items to Meals on Wheels, which serves eligible seniors. 

The COVID-19 outbreak has provided an opportunity for local business owners to support local nonprofits.

John and Jennifer Shepherd of restaurants Shep’s Place, Saltwater and Shep’s Scoreboard, and Monica Russo of Zeno’s on the Square and Mamma Monica’s are among some of the local restaurant owners to donate food to Meals on Wheels.

Meals on Wheels is delivering 10 frozen meals to qualifying seniors in Parker County and in Palo Pinto County, Parker County Committee on Aging Executive Director Shelly Mowery said.

“This is a scary time right now,” Mowery said. “Parker County, we’ve got a lot of seniors.”

A certain amount of meals for Meals on Wheels is funded by the state, but Mowery said she is currently 455 meals over the limit.

Residents can support the Parker County Committee on Aging by making a donation via its website or sending food via the Amazon Smile wish list for the PCCOA, Mowery said.

John Shepherd said he donated perishable food items, like lettuce, tomatoes, onions, carrots, bell pepper and mushrooms, from all three restaurants. The contributions were enough to fill up a van.

“We always do what we can for the community,” Shepherd said. “We sold what we could throughout the last of the week, then made sure we fed our staff and then anything that we weren’t going to use and that I knew would go bad, we went ahead and donated it off.”

Russo also started making meals for cancer patients of the Careity Foundation last week. The meals are being distributed at clinics for patients who are coming in for treatment, Careity Co-founders Lyn Walsh and Beverly Branch said. About 120 meals were given last week, and they are especially nutritious for cancer patients, who are immunocompromised.

“It’s absolutely awesome what they’re doing for us,” Walsh said.

As a cancer survivor, Russo said she understands the fear that cancer patients are going through, particularly being afraid of getting sick.

“My part today is to make other things more easy for these people,” Russo said.

People can donate to the Careity Foundation via its website, www.careity.org.

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