WENATCHEE — After Garlini’s fed over 1,000 people and raised $10,000 for charity earlier this month, other local businesses were inspired to do the same.
Sweetwood BBQ and Visconti’s both have “Feeding 1,000” events planned in the next week. Anyone, regardless of need, can get a free meal while supplies last at the no-contact drive-thru or walk-up area.
The first event will start at 4 p.m. Monday at the Town Toyota Center, where Sweetwood will offer barbecue sandwiches, chips, drinks and chocolate chip cookies.
Then starting at 1 p.m. May 30 at the Town Toyota Center, Visconti’s will serve up bratwursts from cured by Visconti’s, along with chips, drinks, apple slices and condiments for the brats.
Serve Wenatchee Valley will accept donations during both events, but those are voluntary. The organization, which has been running a drive-thru food service for those in need, also benefited from Garlini’s May 11 event.
“Garlini’s did a really awesome thing, kind of setting the bar for us,” said Benj Dew, who owns Sweetwood BBQ with his wife, Kelsey. “It seemed like an awfully huge thing to bite off, but watching them do it kind of shows it’s possible.”
He said the following business donated: cured by Visconti, meat; Weinstein Beverage, soda and water; Bosket Bread Co., buns; and US Foods, chips. The Dilly Deli, which he and his wife also own, provided the cookies.
“It was something, finally, to be a bit excited about through this whole thing — something we’re actually smiling about when we’re planning it versus the day-to-day survival that it seems like we’re going through right now,” Dew said, adding, “It’s just a positive thing. With everything feeling pretty negative out there, I think it’s just a way to help out.”
The Wenatchee Valley Velo Club will give away 500 children’s bicycle helmets at Monday’s event. The group normally distributes helmets at the Pepsi-Cola Youth Day during the Apple Blossom Festival and was looking for another way to reach as many children as quickly as possible.
Ace Bollinger, the club’s vice president, said they normally fit the helmets to children. On Monday, to follow social distancing guidelines, they’ll just give them out with fitting instructions.
“If we can save one family the heartache of having to go through a traumatic brain injury with a child because they wrecked while they were riding a bike or on a skateboard, you can’t put a price on that,” he said.
The “Feeding 1,000” events show “that this valley is a pretty special place to live,” he added.
Visconti’s is partnering with Chelan County Fire District 1 for the May 30 event. Crunch Pak is providing the apple slices, and Weinstein Beverage donated soda and water.
“We’ve always been really active in our community and just trying to support each other because that’s what’s really getting us through everything that’s going on,” said Juan Mendoza-Tovar, marketing and social media coordinator for Visconti’s.
He said the fire department reached out to them about holding the event.
Visconti’s adjustments during the COVID-19 crisis have included take-and-bake and family-style meals. Mendoza-Tovar said people have also been buying gift cards and ordering from cured.
“We’ve really, really been appreciative of all the support that we’ve gotten from our community and the greater Wenatchee Valley,” he said. “This is just something we can say thank you with.”