Austin restaurant El Arroyo provides thousands with free meals

Austin’s El Arroyo restaurant has thousands of free meals

It’s money they wanted to spend, even though the restaurant recently switched to on-the-go orders to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19 during the holidays.

Every day the big white sign on the corner of West 5th and Campbell has a new message. Usually a timely joke.

This Saturday the restaurant broke tradition. There was no joke on the sign. Even so, the latest news attracted a lot. “Free family dinner today for anyone who needs it. Just come over!” it read.

“We make 1,250 family dinners. About four people are fed at a time. So our goal is to feed 5,000 people.” Ellis Winstanley, co-owner of the restaurant, told FOX 7 Austin.

Winstanley says the company needed more than twenty employees and “every” grill in the house. He estimates it cost the restaurant around $ 25,000. It’s money they wanted to spend, although the restaurant recently switched to on-the-go orders to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19 across the country
Vacation.

“It was just an opportunity for us to take care of the community. I mean, we were really lucky that people have given us great support this year.” said Winstanley. He hopes to return some of this support when the community needs it most. An estimated 66 percent of Americans lost their unemployment benefits on Saturday.

“You could just feel the air being let out of the balloon a bit, in addition to what was already a rough year. We just thought you know this is something we can actually achieve, and why not that Seize the opportunity? You only get so many opportunities in life to really help people. “

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Among those helped was lifelong Austinite Alejandro Hernandez. “I think it’s great, I think it’s like Christmas spirit!” he said.

Hernandez was one of the thousands who received a freshly prepared meal of chicken, rice, beans and salsa on Saturday. “I’m really happy, not only is it free food, it’s really good food for free, so I’m thrilled to have this.” he laughed.

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