While the Chinese coronavirus shutdown continues to hurt millions of Texans and businesses across the state, small businesses in North Texas have united to give back to the community that has given them so much.

This Thursday and Friday, Colleyville restaurants Red Barn BBQ, Mother Clucker, Honey Teriyaki, Rio Mambo, Midici, The Neapolitan Pizza Company, and My Lan—united by Facebook group Colleyville Eats—are donating at least 120 meals to the COVID-19 teams of the Grapevine Baylor Scott & White Hospital.

“We did dinner for [the Colleyville Fire Department and Police Department], and I was like, ‘Well, if we’re doing [this] for them, I’ve worked at Baylor Grapevine,’” said Candy Jaimes, whose husband runs Red Barn BBQ.

Candy’s donation idea just happened to coincide with a similar one at local chicken eatery Mother Clucker.

“Originally, I had a customer call me, and she heard about local businesses being affected, so she actually wanted to donate $250 worth of food, which is roughly about 40 plates,” said David Oun of Mother Clucker. Oun said the donor left it up to him where to donate the food, and he immediately thought of the hospital.

“Right near us, a little bit north, is the Grapevine Baylor Scott & White Hospital. I was actually looking for a way to contact them until Lourdes from Colleyville Eats told me Candy used to work there, so she had contacts.”

Oun and Candy joined forces, and the Facebook group Colleyville Eats helped spread the word.

“Candy Jaimes from Red Barn BBQ has spearheaded the mission of delivering 120 meals to the COVID-19 unit of Baylor Scott & White in Grapevine this Thursday and Friday,” Lourdes McWithey—who runs Colleyville Eats—told Texas Scorecard:

“On Tuesday, March 31, she asked me to share this with Colleyville and Grapevine Eats members. So far, the response of local restaurants stepping up to help is tremendous—Red Barn BBQ, Mother Clucker, Honey Teriyaki, Rio Mambo, Midici, The Neapolitan Pizza Company, and My Lan have offered to help. Colleyville Eats members are donating to restaurants by monetary donations with credit cards.”

Leading the charge on giving is nothing new for Red Barn BBQ. The restaurant was started 15 years ago by Von Husbands—a man well-known in the community for his generosity and kindness—who lost his battle with cancer last December.

Jaimes, whose husband Noel worked for Husbands for 14 years and now owns Red Barn BBQ, affirmed their commitment to continue his legacy of generosity.

“It’s 100 percent our goal to carry on his legacy and find different ways to help and just move forward with what he started. He was very generous.”

And for this week’s generosity to the hospitals, it wasn’t difficult to enlist others in the Colleyville community to help.

“I want to do it. [I’ve] got to do it,” said Scott Choi of Honey Teriyaki. “I cannot just receive and receive. I like to give some, too.”

These restaurants are making this effort even though they—like many other small businesses in Texas—are fighting for survival amid the coronavirus shutdown. Before this, these three Colleyville restaurants were already struggling with the Texas Department of Transportation’s road construction on State Highway 26 and its interference with business traffic.

“Within two years that I’ve been here in the business, because of construction on 26, there’s about … 11 or 12 businesses that went out of business,” Choi said.

“This is not new for us in [the] Colleyville area, but because of what was going on in Colleyville, because of the construction, there were so many businesses that just went out and they could not sustain the business. Construction is almost done. Now, the coronavirus,” he added.

Oun—whose business is nine months old—was just starting to see some growth when the coronavirus pandemic hit.

“At a point in time in early March, late February, it was finally feeling like it was turning around,” he said. “And then the [coronavirus] started hitting hard. And then, boom—overnight, customers just disappeared.”

“Clearly, it’s slowed our business tremendously,” Jaimes said. “We were just starting to see our business pickup, with the roads on 26 starting to be completed, and then this started. So, it’s just been a difficult time for us.”

These businesses give credit to McWithey’s Colleyville Eats for helping them the past few years.

Choi said McWithey “just could not stand” hearing about restaurants moving out or not being able to stay in business.

“She put this group together pretty much just to help restaurants in the area,” Jaimes added. “It started off in Colleyville, and now they have Grapevine also.”

“She just pretty much advertises for small businesses in Colleyville. In situations like this, we have bonded together through Colleyville Eats to let people know which restaurants are open, which restaurants are taking things.”

Because of how much the Colleyville community has helped them, these businesses are now giving back to the community and to each other.

“Long story short is [we’re] trying to do what we can,” Oun added.

“And then the town is really pulling together to donate either food from the other local restaurants or money to provide more food for the nurses [and] the hospital staff. It’s been a wonderful team effort, especially since we are a smaller town, so it’s nice to see our neighbors, our friends, coworkers, family all pulling together to try to support the people helping us.”

As to how often they’ll be able to make efforts like this, Jaimes says it’ll have to be a community effort.

“It may get to doing a unit a week. It all depends on how many donations we get and how many restaurants that we get that would love to participate.”

“Financially, we can’t do it by ourselves,” she added.

Those interested in helping these businesses give to others may contact them and donate over the phone. They are also open for carryout. Red Barn BBQ offers limited delivery, whereas Mother Clucker and Honey Teriyaki offer delivery through third-party services.

Robert Montoya

Born in Houston, Robert Montoya is an investigative reporter for Texas Scorecard. He believes transparency is the obligation of government.