Preferred Auto Group food giveaway

Preferred Auto Group in Fort Wayne had 35 free meals left on March 20, but ran out and had to get more March 21.

“We’re all in this together,” seems to be the slogan in the region and the Hoosier State as the COVID-19 pandemic sweeps through the country.

Businesses are stepping up to help out.

Three Rivers Distilling Co. started creating hand sanitizer for first responders, health care providers, shelters, care facilities, and others after store shelves went bare. A Help Us Make Hand Sanitizer GoFundMe campaign has raised over $3,000 toward a $16,000 goal.

“To the extent that we are able, (we) will make more for the broader Northeast Indiana community,” it says on the campaign site. “It costs us $12 per gallon to make (not including labor or overhead). We have donated over 130 gallons in just two days and have been flooded with more requests.”

The $16,000 will pay to make 1,320 gallons of hand sanitizer.

Feeding children

Lucille’s BBQ, 9011 Lima Road, Fort Wayne, stepped up early to fill the void children would have by being out of school.

It reported March 22 that it had handed out 803 kid lunches and planned to continue 11 a.m.-1 p.m. daily through March 27, thanks to donations it received.

Things were slow going for Preferred Auto Group‘s free food donations, but then they sped off.

March 20, they couldn’t give all 75 meals away that they had. Instead, they took 43 leftover meals to the Fort Wayne Rescue Mission. However, word got out and the company had to buy more meals prepared by neighboring restaurant El Azteca.

“WOW!!!! What a turnaround from our free lunch giveaway from yesterday!” it reported March 21 on Facebook. “Today we handed out 75/75 meals to children in need within the first 15 minutes. We ended up having even more traffic than expected so we ended up ordering more meals and we ended up handing out 135 meals just today! We hope all of those children that received meals enjoyed it. thank you all for coming by!!”

Adding a little fun

Joseph Decuis in Roanoke has added a bit of levity to the no-dine-in situation.

It’s JD Quarantine Cuisine — Comfort Food for Home — Week 2 offered an all-day take-out option or pre-order family-style meals.

The take-out menu included a half-pound Wagyu burger for $12 and chicken panini for $9.

Family-style meals that serve 3-4 change weekly. This week included Wagyu stew with mashed potatoes and rolls for $52 and ready-to-bake lasagna served with fresh green salad and cheesy garlic bread for $50.

A month of free

When restaurants need business the most, Waiter on the Way decided to pitch in with free service.

Since March 19 and the following 30 days, it is it won’t have an added charge to local patrons who order from the restaurants it delivers from within the 99 blocks of the Downtown Improvement District. Use the code “DTFW” during online checkout or mention it during a phone order placement. Order at

“When we encounter uncertain times, we need to do as much as we can to support the community,” Derek Berkes, owner of Waiter on the Way, said in an announcement. “This, to me, is just the community taking care of the community. As a team, we are working tirelessly to get food delivered as quickly and efficiently as possible.”

It has added a way for customers to tip both the restaurant staff and the delivery driver.

Lisa Esquivel Long is a veteran Fort Wayne journalist and Greater Fort Wayne Business Weekly editor. To submit items, send email to or call 260-426-2640. ext. 3311.

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