KNOXVILLE, Tn (WATE)- Many small businesses are hurting right now due to coronavirus concerns, especially restaurants.
Seasons Innovative Bar and Grille Owners Deron and Sheah Little had to inform their employees Wednesday night that they had to temporarily shut their doors, leaving their staff without a job.
The Littles view their service staff as family, and wanted to help them out financially during this difficult time, so they decided to put on a fundraiser.
“We started thinking that through the years we got the tremendous opportunity to donate things, it’s just a blessing to do that,” Deron Little said alongside Sheah, “So we said, ‘what better time to donate to our employees than right now when they’re in need.’ Without them, we’d be nothing.”
While practicing social distancing, Seasons employees served people from their cars. The team worked together to whip up pasta with a Bolegenese sauce, accompanied with salad that serves two people, for a minimum of ten dollars. However, community members stepped up and some went above and beyond what was being asked.
In just a few hours, the crew served over one thousand people. Seasons general manager Megan Ellsworth was overwhelmed with gratitude, not expecting the high turnout.
“It means absolutely everything,” Ellsworth said, “I have so many staff members that are laid off right now, unable to work and we’re providing them with so much to be able to support their families during this time.”
100% of the proceeds go towards Seasons service staff. Ellsworth has been with Seasons for roughly 11 years, and noted she will not be taking any of the cut, so her staff like Whitney Donaldson can benefit even more.
Donaldson is a server at Seasons and has a 4-year-old child at home. She says she’s not surprised the Littles stepped up in this way.
“Since I’ve stepped through the door [here] they’re like, ‘what can we do to help you,'” Donaldson noted, “This doesn’t surprise me that this is something they’ve done because they lookout for us like they’d look out for their own family. It’s very special.”
Seasons says that “they are so incredibly thankful for their community.”
“This truly just means the world to us,” Ellsworth said,” We couldn’t have asked for this, we’re just blessed. We’re thankful and blessed that this was our turnout today.”
If you would like donate to support Seasons staff members, click here.