HANNIBAL — Restaurants teamed up to support the United Way during Giving Tuesday, supporting the community during a time of increased need.
Forrest Gossett, chairman of the 2019-2020 “Be a Hero” Campaign, has been a part of the United Way for 28 years, and he has not seen a level of need comparable to this year. He said each of the 10 restaurants represent the business sector that has been among the hardest-hit by the coronavirus pandemic, but owners and patrons were all enthusiastic to give back to community agencies throughout the day.
Denise Damron, executive director of the United Way of the Mark Twain Area, said she and Gossett both witnessed an outpouring of generosity as they visited each restaurant to say thank you for contributing to the “Be a Hero” Campaign.
“It seems to me like a lot of people are excited to be able to give back, especially this year — this year has been tough on a lot of individual businesses, especially those in the restaurant industry,” Damron said. “I think this is a great opportunity for restaurants to partner, take a deep breath, smile and give back to organizations in the community to ensure that the organizations in need have the financial resources to be successful.”
Each restaurant donated a portion of Tuesday’s proceeds to support the campaign, and donors can give to support United Way partner agencies in the community by texting the word “Tuesday” to 26989. Participants supporting the campaign were Sticks N’ Stones Steak and Tap, Sidekick BBQ & Sweets, Java Jive, Fiddlestiks Food & Spirits Co. and Mark Twain Dinette in Hannibal; Crossroads Bar and Grill in Center, Mo.; Sweetwater Distillery in Monroe City, Mo.; Kick It Pub and Grill in Bethel, Mo.; The Rebel Pig Smokehouse and Grill in Palmyra, Mo.; and Winners Grill at Mark Twain Casino in LaGrange, Mo.
Damron and Gossett visited each restaurant and posted videos on Facebook Live throughout the day. Gossett donned a bright red cape and mask to reflect the campaign as he and Damron thanked everyone giving back to their communities.
“What we’ve discovered at the restaurants we’ve been to so far this morning, there’s just universal appreciation for the mission of the United Way,” Gossett said, stressing he “was blown away” by their outpouring of support amid the difficult times they faced.
At Mark Twain Dinette, former United Way Campaign Chair Diane Addison was having lunch to do her part for the fundraising effort. Damron said Addison’s gesture was a “win-win” for supporting the Mark Twain Dinette on the campaign.
“I came because of Giving Tuesday,” Addison said.
Mark Twain Dinette General Manager Kenna Bogue told Gossett how a portion of each sale would go to the United Way, and she talked about the family history and the restaurant’s history dating back to 1942.
Leanne Brown, at Crossroads Bar & Grill, said the day was important to “be supportive in giving for the holiday season.”
“It’s great to give back to our community,” Brown said.
More information and opportunities to donate are available by visiting www.unitedwaymta.org, calling 573-221-2761 or mailing a donation to P.O. Box 81, Hannibal, Mo. 63401.