London, Ont., restaurant owner donating beverages, funds to food bank during COVID-19 pandemic

Brad Heslop/Early Riser Cafe

A local restaurant owner is doing his part in supporting front-line workers and the community as much as possible during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We just started an initiative to donate 10 per cent of every take-out order and 100 per cent of tips directly to the London Food Bank,” Brad Heslop with the Early Riser Cafe in north London told 980 CFPL Sunday.

“We’re also providing free coffee, water and juice to front-line workers to [help] them get through their shifts.”

Heslop says he’s also providing access to the restaurant’s washrooms for “… [people] like first responders, delivery drivers and transit workers.”

“They rely on larger chain restaurants to access the washrooms, and that’s just really not possible at the moment.”

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The restaurant owner says his ideas were implemented around Thursday or Friday last week.

Early Riser Cafe owner Brad Heslop and his friends teamed up to support community members in need by cooking a classic Thanksgiving meal and delivering it to their front doors last year. 980 CFPL
Click to play video: 'Family from Ajax spreading kindness with community pantry amid coronavirus pandemic'
Family from Ajax spreading kindness with community pantry amid coronavirus pandemic

Within these three to four days, he says $400 were collected through tips and take-out orders, which will all go towards the food bank.

Heslop admits he was quite shocked, but he says the generosity of Londoners is not that surprising.

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“We have had some people come in for a take-out order, and when they hear what we’re doing, they’ll give a $40 tip. They know it goes directly to the food bank, so it’s a great way to give back.”

Other than keeping himself busy at the restaurant, cooking orders for take-out, Heslop says he’s been in constant conversation with local restaurant owners to “figure out how we can stay viable but also how we can support our communities.”

He’s got an idea to pool orders together with other restaurants.

“Our suppliers and our farmers need to be paid, so can we pool orders to get them the money they need to continue to put trucks on the road?”

Heslop is no stranger when it comes to supporting the community.

He and a group of volunteers deliver free meals for families and individuals in need every major holiday.

“Easter was the first time we didn’t get to do that,” says Heslop.

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The restaurant owner says he plans to keep his current initiatives alive until the COVID-19 pandemic is over.

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