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Metro Detroit eatery and local church providing meals to those in need during pandemic

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Posted at 5:18 PM, Apr 05, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-05 18:27:06-04

GROSSE POINTE WOODS (WXYZ) — Restaurants are doing what they can to soften the financial blow the coronavirus pandemic is causing.

One eatery in Grosse Pointe Woods was having a hard time with their carry out menu until a church in Detroit stepped in to help.

It may not be take out Tuesday — but Garrido’s Bistro and Pastry on Mack Avenue in Grosse Pointe Woods gives us a reason to get curbside while paying it forward.

“We all went into crisis mode,” said Vanessa Gonzalez with Garrido’s Bistro and Pastry.

That was Gonzalez’s first reaction when the state shutdown restaurants last month.

Garrido’s is mostly known for their dine-in dishes like towering desserts. Needless to say they don’t make these “to-go.”

So how will they survive on just carry out?

Gonzalez is no stranger to adapting on the fly.

“I’m an immigrant," Gonzalez said. "I came from Venezuela and I left Venezuela in the middle of a crisis.”

And with the coronavirus pandemic, she wants to be useful in the community.

“Nothing I can do directly on the front line to help," Gonzalez said. "What can I do to help? Well I cook.”

Doug Kempton is the lead pastor of Grace Community Church in Detroit and a big fan of Garrido’s milkshakes.

“Shakes that are three feet tall, pretty hard to do those as takeout,” Kempton said.

He knew Garrido’s will be hurting as well as those who attend the church, many first responders. So the church donated $6,000 to Garrido’s to be used as a “pay it forward” fund.

This keeps Garrido’s busy cooking while giving away free meals to first responders and families in need. So far, they’ve delivered about 700 meals.One order went to Henry Ford Hospital.

The fund accepts donations and is ready to provide meals, no questions asked.

Gonzalez said on the first week a customer made a donation, talking about the importance of helping the community. Just a couple of days ago, she gave back.

“She said, ‘My situation, my family is completely upside down right now and I would really be blessed if I could get a meal for my family from the pay it forward fund,” Gonzalez said.

Pastor Kempton added, "I would love to see this catch on and people doing it for every restaurant and restaurants saying, ‘hey if you need free food, we have people paying for it already.’ Just a great way for all of us to come together and lock arms and bless each other."

And if you’re wondering — Gonzalez is trying to make a to-go version of their famous shakes.

“It’s quite the challenge we’ve been getting some calls about that milkshake,” she said.

You can donate to pay-it-forward by clicking here.

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