The Lost Year, Paying It Forward

Will Kreznick

WHITEHOUSE, Ohio (WTVG) – Throughout the pandemic, restaurants are among the businesses that have taken the hardest economic hit. Yet, many restauranteurs are still finding ways to give back. The Whitehouse Inn delivered hundreds of meals to frontline healthcare workers.(Tony Geftos) At The Whitehouse Inn, business is getting back on […]

WHITEHOUSE, Ohio (WTVG) – Throughout the pandemic, restaurants are among the businesses that have taken the hardest economic hit. Yet, many restauranteurs are still finding ways to give back.

The Whitehouse Inn delivered hundreds of meals to frontline healthcare workers.(Tony Geftos)

At The Whitehouse Inn, business is getting back on track. That’s after the initial shock of Ohio and Michigan restaurants getting forced to close during the early days of COVID-19 in March 2020.

“It took 2, 3, 4 weeks for, you know, everyone to figure out this was a real thing. Because it didn’t feel like it was real,” says Tony Fronk, owner of The Whitehouse Inn.

Fronk says he and his staff retooled their workflow and made adjustments to align with the new safety protocols. They also decided to pay it forward after raising $3,500 in 24 hours and using the money to pay for thousands of meals they delivered to frontline healthcare workers.

“We donated about 3,000 meals and it’s due to the part of this community. I mean, they were phenomenal,” adds Fronk.

The Flying Joe has a fund where customers can donate to help provide food and beverages to...
The Flying Joe has a fund where customers can donate to help provide food and beverages to essential workers.(Tony Geftos)

Becky Ohm, owner of The Flying Joe in Levis Commons, started 419-It-Forward. It’s a donation drive where customers can contribute money, which will, in turn, pay for food and beverages The Flying Joe delivers to essential workers, including teachers and those in the health care industry.

“Some of our customers heard about it and they would give $5 to the pot, or $10,” says Ohm.

One year after the initial shutdown, Becky and her husband are still at it. They made a delivery to the assisted living staff at The Lakes of Monclova in March 2021.

The Flying Joe recently brought food and beverages to the assisted living staff at The Lakes of...
The Flying Joe recently brought food and beverages to the assisted living staff at The Lakes of Monclova.(Tony Geftos)

“That was one thing that I noticed after calling around is that, like the nursing home staffs and assisted living, they’ve been sheltered a lot and they’ve haven’t gotten a lot of that attention,” added Ohm.

She and her staff at The Flying Joe plan to continue paying it forward during a time when many restaurants themselves are struggling to stay open.

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