(Courtesy Photo)

   Shiawassee County community leaders have joined together to create a new program to address ongoing pandemic related challenges throughout the county. Shiawassee SOARs (Supporting Our Area Restaurants) Meal Distribution Program was born out of a spirit of care. The Shiawassee Family YMCA, United Way of Genesee County, serving Genesee and Shiawassee Counties, Shiawassee Economic Development Partnership, Shiawassee Regional Chamber of Commerce and the Greater Durand Area Chamber of Commerce have collaborated to start this new program. With funding from United Way of Genesee County, Shiawassee SOARs will distribute prepared meals to individuals/households in need across Shiawassee County hometowns – all while financially supporting locally-owned restaurants with a guaranteed stream of orders for several weeks.

   Shiawassee SOARs is paying restaurants $10 per meal. The restaurants must be locally owned, and a percentage of their food must be locally sourced which will further stimulate the local economy.

   “Our hope is to offer economic support to Shiawassee County restaurants through creating consistent revenue for a few weeks and make sure our community members are fed,” explained Emily Marrah, United Way of Genesee County Relationship Specialist. “This program was designed to help everyone; when we Live United everyone benefits.”

   Meals will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 3 p.m. to 5 p.m., or until they run out, in eight hometowns throughout the county. Meal Distributions begin Wednesday, March 10 at 11 locations throughout the county.

Shiawassee SOARs distribution sites include:

• Woody’s Bancroft Tavern, 117 Warrant St., Bancroft

• Matador’s Pizza, 123 S. Saginaw, Byron

• Durand Chamber of Commerce, 109 N. Saginaw, Durand

• Laingsburg Dairy Den, 705 E. Grand River Rd., Laingsburg

• Shiawassee Family YMCA, 515 W. Main St., Owosso

• Shiawassee Hope, 521 E. Williams St., Owosso

• Joe-Lee’s Crosswind Café, 208 Airport Dr., Owosso

• The Z Hall, 2886 Owosso Avenue, Owosso

• Amy’s Downtown Diner, 115 S. Main St., Perry

• Charlie’s Bar & Grill, 136 N. Main St., Perry

• Ole General Store & Café, 100 E. Main St, Vernon

   Other restaurants preparing food include: South 401 in Corunna, Stomping Grounds Coffee, Tiger Shark Café, and Union Station Smokehouse all from Durand, as well as Greg & Lou’s Family Restaurant, Korner Pub, New Port Classic Coney Island, and Roma’s Back Door all from Owosso.

   “We started planning this only five weeks ago and we wouldn’t be able to launch this program this quickly without the help of everyone involved. I want to thank everyone for their input, support and partnership,” said Laura Archer, Shiawassee Family CEO. “As we’ve seen throughout the pandemic, food insecurity is continuing to grow. With 4 out of every 10 adults seeking food support for the first time, this restaurant meal program simply provides another healthy option for individuals and families to receive much needed food support.”

   Shiawassee SOARS has enough funding to run through April 2 but is seeking additional funding to extend the program. If you are interested in helping to sponsor the program, persons may contact Laura Archer at the Shiawassee Family YMCA, larcher@shiawasseeymca.org or (989) 725-8136.

Free Meals from Shiawassee County Restaurants Distributed through Shiawassee SOARs was last modified: March 17th, 2021 by Karen Elford