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‘Feeding Midland County’ effort to help residents and first responders


Melody Baetens   | The Detroit News

Midland, Michigan bars and restaurants and the Michigan Restaurant and Lodging Association are joining forces to feed first responders and residents of Midland County. 

The "Feeding Midland County" effort will get 4,000 dinners into the hands of those who need them through Tuesday. A state of emergency was declared for the area when two dams were breached this week, flooding several streets, homes and businesses. 

Midland-area businesses Big E’s Sports Grill, Gratzi and Real Seafood Company and Molasses Smokehouse + Bar are supplying the meals, supported by AT&T, Gordon Food Service and Sysco. Specifically, Big E’s will prepare 500 large pepperoni pizzas daily for curbside pickup, free to residents starting 4-7 p.m. Sunday and while they last through Tuesday. 

“Restaurateurs are always quick to help their community in times of crisis. We are thankful to the Midland restaurants who have opened their kitchens to feed frontline workers and residents impacted by the destructive flooding,” said MRLA president and CEO Justin Winslow in a press release announcing the Feeding Midland County initiative. 

Grassroots help is also being organized for those affected by the massive water damage. GoFundMe has published a centralized hub of around 30 Midland County-related fundraisers at gofundme.com/c/act/michigan-flooding.

Among them is for the benefit of Red Oak Restaurant and Lounge in downtown Sanford, which was decimated this week. 

The fundraiser has already collected around $6,000 of a $20,000 goal for the nearly 50-year-old neighborhood hangout. 

"Please send help," the restaurant posted on social media Wednesday, along with a series of photos assessing the damage. "Never have we had water in our building in those 47 years. Thank you Sanford for worrying about us and asking how we're doing or what we need. We're devastated and not sure where to go from here, but we'll go." 

More: Trump grants Whitmer's request for emergency declaration over flooding

More: Whitmer talks response to 'historic' flooding, pandemic on CNN

mbaetens@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @melodybaetens