OWNINGS MILLS, Md. — It’s an extremely busy week for Clean Cuisine in Owings Mills. The restaurant and catering company is getting all their Thanksgiving meal orders out the door and to their customers for curbside pick up. But that’s just the start of it.
Owners Jerry and Erin Schlichting wanted to give back, so they set out to feed 80 families for Thanksgiving.
"I'm gonna buy 80 turkeys. I’ll put a post out there if anyone wants to donate," said Jerry. "In a couple days we raised close to $5,000."
5,000 dollars and several truck loads of donated food. Even their neighbors Rincon Italiano donated 40 turkeys. They were taken back by how much the community pitched in during a tough financial time.
"We’re all feeling the stress of the situation together so I think we have more empathy towards other people right now so I think everyone is a lot more aware and willing to reach out and help the people around them," said Erin.
They took the donated meals to Baltimore Hunger Project, which provides weekend food packages to children identified as food insecure. 120 meals total… but it’s one in particular that got our attention.
A woman emailed WMAR-2 News. She said 2020 almost destroyed her financially. She lost her job, was late on rent and had no idea how she was going to pull off thanksgiving. Then she saw Jerry’s post on Facebook and asked for a meal.
"I’m not gonna say no. She reached out she came yesterday and picked up and I said here’s food for several days," said Jerry.
Today, she wrote “I am very grateful to clean cuisine. Not only will we have a feast, but we felt encouraged and not so left behind.”
"That’s what we are here for. We have felt ever since the pandemic started that we’ve been lucky... We’ve had a successful business and we wanted to find a way to give back to the people who aren’t as lucky as we’ve been," said Erin.
They say they are so happy to help, but it serves as a reminder it’s not just needed during the holidays.
"We all run around. We are so busy with our everyday lives. You forget there are people out there that really need the help, and while we’re there for this one day, there are 364 more days in the year that these people need food so we kinda need to remember that throughout the year," said Erin.
They plan on making this an annual donation drive, and they already have next years goal set: to feed at least 200 families.