Tia Bringenberg of Goshen Coffee

Goshen Coffee in Edwardsville, IL has stepped up during COVID-19 outbreak providing free bulk coffee to its customers.

“Even in darkness … there is light.” Elie Wiesel

Area businesses are working to bring sparks of sunshine to local communities, residents and their fellow business owners by lending a helping hand. From free coffee, to special shopping hours for those most at risk from the virus, and local restaurants providing food for children and families in need, the desire to help others has radiated out from the local business community.

Goshen Coffee in Edwardsville is now providing free bulk coffee to its local restaurants and coffee shop partners through the end of March.

“Social distancing is necessary but temporary; coffee will always keep us together,” the boutique coffee roasting business noted on its Instagram account recently. According to Accounts Manager Tia Bringenberg, providing free coffee beans and ground coffee to its partners was a way the company could offer something positive to the region during the COVID-19 outbreak.

“We felt we had to act immediately on SOMETHING. We decided to comp the bulk coffee for cafes and restaurants because we know that food and beverage sales are the only thing that keeps their doors open and pays employees. This was the fastest way we could easily relieve at least some of the burden from these vulnerable businesses, and more importantly, the workers,” Bringenberg said.

Area restaurants are providing free lunch for children in the region now that schools are on hiatus. In Staunton, Cavataio's Restaurant in is offering children a free 8-inch, one topping pizza between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. daily for drive through or pick up. This is available for children in Kindergarten through 12th grade. The Blackbird Bakery & Cafe, also in Staunton, has declared its children's menu free for all school age children. In Hillsboro, Gianni's Pizza & Italian Ristorante is offering a free small one topping pizza for all children. Pick up only. No purchase necessary. Sammi's Sandwiches in Alton is lending a helping hand to displaced restaurant workers. Those who have lost jobs due to COVID-19 can bring a paystub to Sammi's and receive a free loaf of bread and "enough ham, turkey and cheese to make a whole lot of sandwiches."

In a creative twist, Old Herald Brewery & Distillery in Collinsville is offering free hand sanitizer with all delivery orders. The hand sanitizer is made from distillate and scented with lemon zest. Great Rivers Tap & Grill in Alton is offering a roll of toilet paper with all curbside or carryout orders.

Old Bakery Beer Company in Alton is still holding its weekly Drink for a Cause events. Place a pick up or delivery order and 25 percent of the proceeds will go towards a non profit each week.

"Our business was built on supporting the community and we aren't going to let COVID-19 stop us," according to the company's Facebook message.

Other area businesses have stepped up their efforts to help others as well. Schnucks grocery stores are offering special hours for ‘at-risk shoppers’. From 6 a.m. to 7 a.m., those people most at risk from the COVID-19 virus can shop for groceries and needed items at all stores across the region.
“By allowing seniors and those who are most at risk to be the first in our stores, we hope we can make it just a little bit easier for them to feel comfortable while picking up the groceries and household items they need,” the company’s website announced. Schnucks is asking all of its customers to assist with this effort and avoid the store during those hours.

Please let us know if you hear of another business in the region stepping up to help others. Email us at: info@riversandroutes.com