Restaurants step up for the holidays
BARRIE -- The hardest-hit industry amid the pandemic is still pivoting to find a way to give back to their communities.
For over thirty years, Tops In Pizza in Orillia has been giving out pizza slices to the community on Christmas. But this year, Christopher Marinakos said they wanted to give back to those who needed it most.
"It's a special time of the year for us because it's something we do every year," he said.
This Christmas Eve, they are donating pizzas for over one hundred people to The Lighthouse Soup Kitchen and Shelter.
And for them, the giving doesn't end on Christmas Eve as they'll also be making rounds on Christmas Day.
"We're providing meals to the emergency services, paramedics, people at the hospital, nurses, doctors, any front line workers on Christmas Day."
The Fork and Plate in Innisfil is another restaurant shifting gears due to COVID-19.
For 14 years now, they've had those in need come by their restaurant on Christmas Eve for a meal, but since they can't have anyone in the restaurant due to restrictions, they decided to bring the meals and goodies.
"You want to bring that joy," said owner Deb Burton. "You want the kids to see Santa, and you want to do it safely."
Today the volunteers dressed up as elves, and Santa and reindeer picked up food to deliver for over 300 people. Burton said this year; it was especially important for them to do it, even though their business struggled through the pandemic.
"There is more of a need this year. Last year's numbers compared to this year have almost doubled," said Burton.
The Innisfil Beach Cruisers typically shuttle people back and forth during previous years. This year, their volunteers were in charge of the delivery. And they're also received large financial help from the Sandy Cove Marina.
Burton said she hopes what she's doing just shows families they're loved and that there is still some good among this pandemic.