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Iowa Restaurant Owner Gives Hundreds of Free Meals To Residents Impacted By Storms

Iowa Restaurant Owner Gives Hundreds of Free Meals To Residents Impacted By Storms

This is how you pay it forward!

An Iowa restaurant owner is giving away hundreds of free meals to residents after the state was devastated by storms, Essence reports.

Willie Fairley is the owner of Willie Ray's Q Shack in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. The area was recently ravaged by powerful derechos, leaving more than 800 buildings majorly damaged and dozens in the hospital with injuries. Fairley decided that he would bring a little reprieve to the city by serving up hundreds of his meals for free.

"It's terrible right now. You got a lot of people still without power. We're just trying to do what we can as a company to make sure we did our part," Fairley said. "Because if it was me home with nothing, I would want someone to at least be able to provide something for me." 

The Q Shack has been giving out generous helpings of ribs, chicken, burgers, and hot dogs, running mainly on donations from local supporters happy to support the endeavor. Fairley said he will continue to keep serving the community until the city can recover, as long as there are funds. 



"The main reason we're doing it free is because there's been a lot of people [donating] to us to help us keep feeding people," he said. "So, we figure we'll just do it to make sure everybody gets something."

Cedar Rapids resident Kelly McDonald said, "If I've seen anybody around here doing the most feeding the community, it's Willie."

Another resident, Thomas Clark, who is also volunteering with Fairley, echoed those sentiments.

"He's doing such a great job, and we're proud of where he's taken this and how he started from nothing now he's out here doing it with honestly nothing and just to do it," Clark said. "He's not asking for anything, and I've known him for 15 to 16 years, and he's always been that way."

Fairley said he plans to continue the work even after the city is back up and running, focusing on feeding people at a homeless shelter at least once a week. 

To donate to the efforts, you can VENMO Fairley @WillieRaysQShack. 

Thank you for all you're doing, Willie!

Photo Courtesy of Iowa News Now/Essence