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Orange Park diner starts program for customers to sponsor meals for frontline workers

After weeks of giving meals to hospital workers, firefighters, and police officers, meals are being delivered to grocery store employees.

ORANGE PARK, Fla. — Grumpy’s Restaurant has been in Orange Park since 1999. The new owner, Daniel DeLeon grew up in this community and when he saw people in need, he figured they might as well dig into their resources. 

What he had to give was food.

After weeks of giving meals to hospital workers, firefighters, and police officers, meals are being delivered to grocery store employees. Twenty meals will be given to staff at the local Winn Dixie on Tuesday morning to thank them for their work during COVID-19.

Credit: Leah Shields
Grumpy's Restaurant in Orange Park is cooking up meatloaf and delivering the meals to grocery store workers to thank them for their work during the pandemic.

RELATED: Owner of now-closed local store donating masks to frontline workers

“The grocery store is a staple in our community," DeLeon says. "You know, how much time are we spending there now? More than ever. Just to say thank you to the guy stocking the produce, the cashiers… you know. People are working hard in an unappreciated job that we see and just pass by, but they're a necessity."

DeLeon says the program is his community action plan and it goes back a few weeks ago when Grumpy’s held a free food pantry for anyone to come grab what they needed. He says five pallets of fresh produce was gone in two hours. He wanted to do more.

“It is a hard reality where the community needs help, we want to thank the people who are helping us and help as many people as we can," he says. "We really don’t feel like there is an option right. We feel an obligation to use our resources and use our people."

He created a program where his employees would be able to stay employed and they would be able to help hundreds in their community. Customers can sponsor meals for frontline workers for $10 and Grumpy’s delivers them.

DeLeon describes Grumpy’s as an Americana diner. They will be serving meatloaf, roasted turkey, and sides for the grocery store employees.

In total, Grumpy’s has delivered about 300 meals to different frontline workers with the help of customer sponsorship. DeLeon says the restaurant has matched donations so far.

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