Vermont eatery offers free food to those in need

ESSEX JUNCTION, Vt. (WCAX) Most restaurants and bars across our area and the nation are hurting right now. With just delivery and pickup options, some local businesses are worried about staying afloat. Our Scott Fleishman shows you one popular food destination in Essex Junction that's worried about its future, but also concerned for those who are struggling for meals.

Chef Darrell Langworthy has had to trim back his hours and staffing at his business, Heart and Soul by Mark BBQ.

"If my restaurant doesn't make it, I'm still sitting on a bunch of food that's got to get used," Langworthy said.

That's why starting this Wednesday and each Wednesday for the foreseeable future, he's giving out meals. Free meals. No questions asked.

"We've all been there. I've been paycheck to paycheck and have gone without food before. I know what that feels like," Langworthy said.

For four hours on Wednesday afternoons, people who call or message the restaurant through social media can come by for pickup. And for those who can't, delivered is available.

"We're just trying to help a little bit of that impact by giving back to our community with what we do, which is make food," Langworthy said.

Almost all the people who came in to Heart and Soul to get their free meals while WCAX News was there, didn't want to be on camera, which is completely understandable. But we did run into two men who were not only thinking of others during this time of need, they were thinking about this local business.

Greg Quagliett and Bo Taber stopped in to pick up meals for older clients who live in their properties, so those folks can avoid heading out. But they also bought gift cards to use at Mark BBQ when it is back up and running at full speed.

"I'm sure programs like Meals on Wheels are very overloaded right now and this sort of helps pick up the need for that," Taber said.

"And we're also here to support them and their clients and their staff, doing what we can to continue to keep our economy flowing when everything is shutting down," Quagliett said.

"Just do what you can to help while you can," Langworthy said, "because, in the end, all we've got is each other."

Free meals with a priceless side of kindness.