VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — Schools across Virginia will be closed for at least the next two weeks. Because many students get at least one meal at school, many people are left wondering: what are they going to do?
The owner of a Virginia Beach restaurant is stepping up to the plate.
Mark Stevens owns Zero’s Subs near the Virginia Beach Oceanfront and his restaurant is within walking distance of Cooke Elementary School. When he heard about schools closing, he knew he had to help.
“Right now, we’re making lunches, bagged lunches, for the kids that do not have food to eat,” Stevens said. “I had a concern about where these kids are going to find their next lunch because we have a lot of kids in the neighborhood who depend on the free breakfast, free lunch.”
Stevens is also the co-executive director of StandUp for Kids, a nonprofit that helps children and teens affected by homelessness, so when he saw a potential need, he didn’t hesitate to fill it.
“I like to be proactive and for me to do that, it was ‘Let’s make sandwiches,'” Stevens said.
His team made sandwiches for people like the Yancey family, who stopped by Tuesday afternoon.
“It’s a rough time,” said Charles Yancey. “Everything is closing down and stuff like that. You got people that live paycheck to paycheck, so it’s hard on them and people are losing their jobs.”
He says the folks at Zero’s are making this tough time a little bit easier.
“This is great,” said Yancey.
Stevens says they fed 40 children on Monday.
“My goal is to keep doing it until I don’t have to do it anymore,” Stevens said.
Plus, the community has helped, with people donating money and other businesses like J&A Racing donating water.
“It’s amazing how the community has come together in this time, the need that we have and it’s good to see, too,” Stevens said.
As for his restaurant, it’s staying open and providing curbside pick-up.
“Everybody still has to pay their rent,” Stevens said. “Everybody still has to pay their mortgages, they still have to eat, so I’m going to keep our doors open so my employees can at least do that.”
If you, or a child or teen you know needs a meal, you can stop by the Zero’s Subs on Virginia Beach Boulevard, not far from the Oceanfront, and pick up food between 10:30 a.m. and 2 p.m.
Zero’s Subs in Suffolk also announced that they would be offering free bag lunches for children who are impacted by school closings during the coronavirus pandemic beginning March 23. The shop, located 1523 N. Main Street in Suffolk, will hand out ham and cheese sandwiches, with a bag of chips and a fruit roll up.
The lunches will be offered to students Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
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