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A virtual happy hour with friends may have saved a Towson woman’s business

Posted at 10:38 PM, Apr 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-15 23:35:06-04

TOWSON, Md. — Melanie Wagner has owned Charles Village Pub and Patio for about twenty years, but because of the COVID-19 pandemic, she thought it could possibly come to an end.

Across the country, businesses like Wagner’s are struggling to stay afloat because of social distancing restrictions are limiting their restaurant to online and carryout, which has forced Wagner to cut down on staff.

“I think we are going to lose. you know the restaurant,” Wagner told friends during a virtual happy hour.

It was in that moment a few weeks ago, Wagner’s friends came up with an idea. It started with one of them wanting to buy meals from Wagner to donate to UM St. Joseph Medical Center.

“It’s important to support people who are literally risking their lives to save us,” said Christine Bennett, Wagner’s friend.

The idea born from a virtual happy hour is now what is called the “OneGoalOneTeam” initiative.

Wagner and her friends have raised $25,000 since their Zoom conference call, thanks to donations from people in the community.

The money was able to buy about 2,000 meals for frontline workers.

The meals, which include sandwiches, chips and a cookie, are $12.50 each.

Charles Village Pub has sent meals to the Towson Police precinct in Baltimore County, UM St. Joesph Medical Center and Greater Baltimore Medical Center.

“It’s rewarding,” Wagner said on how it feels to help first responders and healthcare workers.

Jay Atkinson works at Janney Montgomery Scott LLC in Towson. He and co-workers bought 130 meals from the pub to donate to UM St. Joesph’s Medical Center

“We have an easy job compared to what they’re doing,” he said. “We’re just happy to be able contribute in a small way.”

The meals they bought will be going to nurses like Nicole Beeson. Beeson, who is the director of nursing at UM St. Joesph’s Medical Center, says working in health care during a pandemic is stressful, but receiving these meals brings her a little relief.

“It’s bolstering us to see our community and our neighbors are standing right here with us and fighting the battle together.”

Wagner says she’s grateful she’s able to help frontline workers. She also says the money donated is helping her business stay open….for now.

She says she's thankful for her friends and the community who have rallied around her during a difficult time.

“I can’t believe people supported us like that,” she said. “It’s humbling.”

If you would like to donate to Charles Village Pub, you can visit this link here.