This Christmas season, while there are a plethora of annual service projects going on at local churches, charities and clubs, there is one new development to add to the list. Most recognize that during the holiday season, there are some families and individuals in need of financial assistance, and Brent Ward is one who is very aware of this reality.
Ward, the owner of Calhoun’s Cheeseburger Bobby’s, has been working on a service project for the two and a half years that the restaurant has been open. He knows that community involvement is especially important in Calhoun, and tries to do everything he can to give back.
This Christmas, Ward has decided to partner with the Voluntary Action Center and try to feed families in need. But he isn’t just providing free meals out of his own pocket, he’s letting customers get involved in giving.
Customers can come in and buy a meal in addition to their own, and an employee will write the purchased meal on a card, which will go on the wall. Then the store will call the VAC to let them know what free meals are available. At this point, the VAC will send over families or individuals in need that match the prepaid meals. Ward says this partnership is exactly what he was looking for in order to make a difference, and that he is willing to help others in any way he can.
“Even if it’s a situation where they don’t have transportation and they can’t get here, they can call us and we’ll get (the meals) to them,” Ward said.
When walking into the restaurant in December, customers will find a white board posted next to the cash register displaying the words “The Gift of Grub.” Also on the board is an explanation that a 20-percent discount is offered to any customers who buy a meal for someone in need.
“It’s a philanthropic idea, and my main focus is to feed as many families as we can,” Ward said. “I want the community to get involved and I want this to be a place where we can make an impact.”
Ward believes most people are generous and genuinely want to help others, but they just don’t know where to start. This is his way of making a bit easier to give to others this season.
While the owner is starting this project solely for the month of December, he would love to have this giving opportunity available at his restaurant year-round.
“I would love it if we got enough cards on the board to cover every person in Gordon County that is less fortunate, so they could come and get a meal,” he said. He also believes if this holiday project is successful from a financial standpoint, other local businesses might join in and provide similar opportunities for customers and clients.
Ward, who has a history of volunteering with local schools and churches, says community service is highly significant, and that this is only the start of what he wants to do. At the very least, he said, this is an attempt to encourage others to get involved with other local citizens who need help.
“Let’s get to the roots, let’s go directly to the people in our community, let’s try to impact their lives,” Ward said. “I would love to help grow Calhoun into a more philanthropic community.”
And with projects like this, that’s exactly what Calhoun is moving toward becoming. For more information on the “Gift of Grub” project Ward is running this month, contact the Cheeseburger Bobby’s restaurant at 706-659-7947.