650 free meals distributed Tuesday in Norfolk at ‘Thanks and Giving’ event

Norfolk

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — People impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic received a free hot meal Tuesday at a Norfolk restaurant. 

The Azalea Inn and Time Out Sports bar distributed 650 meals from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. outside at the Roosevelt Gardens Shopping Center (2344 East Little Creek Road). 

It was 150 more meals than they originally planned for.

Each box included a turkey sandwich, mashed potatoes and green beans. The meals were one per person on a first-come, first-served basis. For safety reasons, motorists and passengers were asked to stay in their cars.

“I’ve never seen anything like this before and for people to come out and do this and help families in need, especially like myself, it’s a blessing and it really takes some of the pressure off,” Norfolk resident Sabrina Whorton told 10 On Your Side.

The “Thanks and Giving” event was made possible by Virginia Wins Together, a community initiative made up of operators and locations that host Queen of Virginia Skill & Entertainment (QVS) games.

“With so many negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, QVS, our operators and customers want to help folks during these difficult times,” said QVS General Manager Jeanna Bouzek. “We are also thankful that we can partner with a great restaurant, Azalea Inn and Time Out Sports Bar, to support our community in a meaningful way before the holiday.”

This isn’t the first time the Azalea Inn has been at the forefront of giving back. The owner has served those in the community on Thanksgiving Day many times in the past. 

“Today is a beautiful day, it’s a special day for us, for the community, for the restaurant, for the employees. It’s a good day,” said Azalea Inn co-owner, Taki Karangelen.

At the event, QVS also announced how much revenue it alone has generated since July for Virginia’s COVID-19 Relief Fund and local governments from a special state tax on skill games.

That levy, $1,200 per gaming terminal, totals millions of dollars statewide.

“In four months, just Queen of Virginia has written a check for $25 million to the state of Virginia. We’re 54% of the skill game industry, so if you add all that up, that means the state of Virginia has gotten about $48 million in the last four months. So, I don’t see any way possible anyone with any type of conscious can vote to take that type of money away from the state.”

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