Local restaurant creates online 'thank you meal' program

LOVES PARK, Ill (WIFR) -- A new avenue for thanking essential employees and supporting a local restaurant hits the streets.

Thank you meals

"It's really the doctors, nurses [paramedics and police] who are risking their health or their life every day taking in new patients," says Owner of Fozzy's Bar and Grill Nick Fosberg. "So I thought it would be cool to put a program together."

The program allows customers to purchase a meal gift card online from the Loves Park restaurant to send to someone they want to thank during the time of the pandemic. They also have an option to write a personal note. To send a thank you meal, customers can visit fozzysbm.com and choose to send it to an email or as a text.

"Within 30 seconds of sending the text message, it was like 'thank you so much for thinking of me, keep your family safe,'" says Justine Graceffa, who sent five meals to friends and families so far. "I think if everyone works together that's how we will get through this," she says. "And I'm happy to keep it in the community."

Fosberg says the program is a two-way street. It puts a smile on someone's face, and also helps his business and employees.

"Eighty percent of our business has vanished," he tells 23 News. "We have zero dine-ins. And about 90 percent of our staff is laid off." He says he applied for federal grants, but doesn't know how long those funds will take to come in.

Holly Hunt also utilized the online system. She sent a meal gift card to her friend Jennette, who works as a labor and delivery nurse at Mercyhealth Riverside. "She works tirelessly," she says. "And she's an incredible person."

Hunt says Jennette thanked her for the gift, and plans to use it on what she says is the "best Philly Cheese Steak in Rockford!"

The gift card can be used for curbside pickup, delivery or saved for when the restaurant reopens.