Between the pandemic and the rising cost of goods, the past year has been tough for many, and holidays can be even tougher.
Revive Game Bar is one of the many businesses in the community that has recognized the difficulties people are experiencing, and is making an effort to give back.
Teaming up with local restaurants and suppliers in Uptown Waterloo and throughout the region, they are offering a free holiday dinner, “no questions asked.”
“Holidays are hard for a lot of people to begin with, and it hasn't been any easier, especially with the rate of inflation, costs have been going up in our community, rental prices and stuff like that have skyrocketed over the last year and a half,” said Rami Said, managing director of Revive Game Bar, which opened during the pandemic. “So, we just thought, it's a very simple thing we can do and partner with other people in the community as well. If you could make a day of someone's life a little bit better, why not?”
Their head chef, Daniel Green, has done Christmas dinners like this before in previous places he has worked at. He approached them saying it was something he really cared about doing, and was wondering if they would be supportive of the idea.
“And then we kind of sat down and decided that this was a good thing to do,” he said, adding that they had seen some of their staff, as well as others in the industry, experience food security issues throughout the pandemic.
“We got a real glimpse of what it means not to be able to either afford to have a good meal or just kind of be alone and isolated for a long duration. So we kind of said, we have the ability this year to give back, we had a great community who supported us, maybe it's time to give back to them as well.”
They reached out to some of their suppliers and local businesses surrounding them on Facebook, who he says were “instantly” receptive of the idea. So much so that at one point, they even had too many volunteers.
“One of the restaurants has a much larger cooking facility than we do, so we’ll be using their kitchen and our kitchen as well. We tried to make this more of a community-based event versus [it being] all about us.”
The local businesses involved are Prohibition Warehouse, Kentucky Bourbon and BBQ, Green Liner Produce, Flanagan's Food Market and Two Calves Standing.
“We’ve all worked together through COVID-19, and we’ve all been supportive of each other’s businesses, so why not try to be supportive of the community as well.”
Through the collaboration, the dinner will include turkey with stuffing, gravy, and vegetables. There will also be a vegetarian and vegan option available.
People can register online for the free meal, “no questions asked.” Everything will be available for takeout and delivery on Christmas day from noon to around 5 p.m.
“So even if it wasn't a financial issue, if you're just alone for the holidays, or there's any other kind of problem, we're happy to help no matter what the situation is,” he said.
So far, they have over 200 meals registered, but they have the capacity to do up to 400, and registration is open until Dec. 22.
Going forward, they hope to make this an annual event at Revive.
“The amount of people who registered shows that there is a need for it,” he said. “And if that's something that we can keep going, we want to. We might also look at doing other larger holidays throughout the year as well, depending on what's happening in this community.
“I think we've witnessed what it really means to see people suffer. COVID exposed what the world can be like, if you're not in a secure job or stable. I think just the stark reality of what the world can be like when things get tough kind of makes you want to be more involved, do more to help more people.”
To register or find out more on the Eventbrite page.