‘I just saw a need to fill.’ Restaurants, mask-makers, non-profits help QC through COVID-19

Local News

The year 2020 was challenging – a time when the country had to navigate through uncharted territory with the coronavirus pandemic. To get through this, the Quad Cities community united to help those in need.

Just before Easter, someone broke into Grinder’s Spaghetti House in Moline. Joe Ende, the owner of Finn’s Grill, immediately stepped in and ordered them a new door.

“I don’t really know anything about Grinder’s other than they have outstanding food,” said Ende. “I just saw a need, so a fill-a-need kind of a theory, right? And we just wanna make sure with everything that’s coming into us, we give it back if we have it. I saw an opportunity to help.”

A few days later, on Easter, Ende had a free meal giveaway to help out anyone struggling. There was a massive turnout that resulted in Ende giving away more than 900 burgers and hot dogs.

“Finn’s is where it’s at,” said Seth Garrett, of Milan. “This place is great. They’ve got a lot of things for the kids, a lot of things for adults, good food, good people, everybody is nice and Milan is a great area.”

With COVID-19 cases rising and more Americans losing their jobs, One Eighty, a nonprofit organization that is dedicated to turning people’s lives, around started a food drive to help families.

“This is a time where our community needs us the most,” said Rusty Boruff, executive director of One Eighty. “We can’t be closing our doors. You know we gotta stay open. We have to continue serving even more than what we were before.”

As first responders and hospital workers were fighting the pandemic on the front lines, many members of the community stepped in to make sure they were taken care of. One family in East Moline started making masks so that they could all do their jobs safely.

“This is our way of helping,” said Shirley Phillips, who has made masks for law enforcement in multiple states. “You know, we don’t have the finances or anything else, but we do have material, and I know how to sew, so that’s why we started doing this.”

What BBQ & Bar in LeClaire also stepped up and started donating free meals to all local hospitals.

“We are thankful that they are doing this because of all the hard work that the nurses and doctors are doing right now,” said Erica Robertson, a local nurse. “And (they are) risking their lives and their families daily to help take care of all these sick and ill patients.”

High school seniors were among many affected by COVID-19. They couldn’t walk at their own graduation or attend prom, so one local photographer offered free photoshoots for seniors.

“I would like to give them the opportunity to have the graduation photoshoot they aren’t able to get, and the senior photos that may have been canceled or postponed due to the pandemic,” said photographer Josh Warren-Collison.

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