Last week, a devasting derecho hit the Midwest, damaging homes and leaving several people without power. However, one Cedar Rapids, Iowa restaurant owner, Willie Fairley, is giving back to his community by firing up his grill and giving away hundreds of free BBQ meals to residents.
Fairley, the owner of Willie Ray’s Q Shack, has been giving away at least 400 meals each day to neighbors at no cost, just trying to do what he can to ease the burden that some may be facing.
“It’s terrible right now. You got a lot of people still without power,” Fairley told 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.”
Cedar Rapids got hit the worst by the powerful windstorm, with more than 800 buildings sustaining major damage and some 50 people hospitalized with storm-related injuries.
Fairley has been serving up ribs, chicken, burgers and hot dogs in order to keep people fed, noting that there are others donating to help the business keep dishing out the free meals.
“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,” he said.
According to CNN, as long as there are funds, Fairley intends to keep up serving his community. And, once the city has recovered from the storm, he plans to help feed a homeless shelter at least once a week.
And this has always been the way Fairley was, community members told CBS2 Iowa.
“If I’ve seen anybody around here doing the most feeding the community, it’s Willie,” Cedar Rapids resident Kelly McDonald told the news station.
“He’s doing such a great job and we’re proud of where he’s taken this and how he started from nothing now he’s out here doing it with honestly nothing and just to do it. He’s not asking for anything and I’ve known him for 15 to 16 years and he’s always been that way,” Thomas Clark, who is helping Fairly prepare and give out the food added.