Cedar Rapids, Iowa, was one of many places affected by a devastating storm that tore through the Midwest. Now, local business owners are pulling their resources together to give back to the community.
Iowa-based food entrepreneur Willie Fairley of Wille Ray’s Q Shack is giving back after they were impacted by powerful derecho with winds over 100 miles per hour. The business owner announced he would be providing at least 400 free meals to residents in the area to give back.
“It’s terrible right now. You got a lot of people still without power,” Fairley said in an interview with CNN. “We’re just trying to do what we can as a company to make sure we did our part…because if it was me home with nothing. I would want someone to at least be able to provide something for me.”
“Money will come but people are in need right now,” Fairley added. “The main reason we’re doing it free is because there’s been a lot of people donate to us to help us keep feeding people. So, we figure we’ll just do it to make sure everybody gets something.”
The city has suffered a great deal of damage as a result of the windstorm with more than 800 residential and commercial buildings suffering full or partial damage with roughly 50 people hospitalized due to injuries. As a result of his kindness, several have nominated the local food restaurant owner for the Discover Eat It Forward program, awarding $25,000 to Black-owned restaurants across the country.
“Giving out food, doing whatever we can. Help the neighbors move trees. I brought the grill home and cooked for everybody and somehow we’re here,” Fairley shared with CBS2 Iowa. “I wish I could put my shoes on and everybody know how I feel on the inside. People keep donating, so we’re going to be giving out food for a long time. Even when the storm is over and cleaned up.”