The coronavirus pandemic has brought with it some horrible things, with many losing their jobs or even shelter and some having to put their lives on the line every day to help save others. But with all this bad, comes some amazing good. The sense of loss in Ann Arbor has created opportunities for community members to spread kindness to those in need throughout Washtenaw County.
Whether it’s by donating food to healthcare workers, giving away free meals to children in need, or pivoting to selling groceries—these A2 businesses have gone above and beyond to help out their community. Read on for more information on how they are helping, how you can help, and how to receive help if you yourself are in need.
Know of a local business going above and beyond that we missed? Let us know in the comments so we can celebrate them, too!
Photo courtesy of Silvio’s Organic Ristorante & Pizzeria
Celebrating 15 years of operation this year, Silvio’s Organic Ristorante & Pizzeria offers handmade, authentic Italian food—using only the best locally sourced, fresh and organic ingredients.
At the beginning of April, Silvio’s helped feed more than 80 people at St. Joseph Mercy Hospital as well as about 140 people between a senior facility and The University of Michigan Hospital. They did all of this through a new program, which operates with customers purchasing food and gift cards — and with every $50 sold, they donate a free large pizza or pasta entree to a local health facility. They are still running this program, so if you would like to help out, head to their website and order dinner or purchase a gift card to use at a later date.
Cahoots, a massive co-working tech hub, has called Ann Arbor home since 2016. Here, you can do your work in a classy, modern environment among other tech-industry workers, enjoy coffee from their very own cafe, and network with individuals in the same business as you.
But they aren’t only great for helping build relationships in the tech community; Cahoots has also been doing their part to help support the rest of Ann Arbor during the pandemic. Co-founder Joe Malcoun came up with the idea of a gift card platform to help support front-line workers and small businesses. He then turned to the Cahoots community to help him build it. Right now, it’s a living and thriving website called SaveMIFaves where you can buy gift cards for yourself, your family or friends to help keep small businesses afloat. You can also buy a gift card specifically to feed a healthcare worker. If you want to chip in, click here to get started.
Eat More Tea is one of Ann Arbor’s favorite destinations for sweet treats, tea-infused gelato, good eats and so much more. Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, Eat More Tea has been working with Mammoth Distilling, the Children’s Creative Center and M4 to help distribute lunches to students in need during the statewide shutdown. They are also collaborating with nonprofit Avalon Housing to help identify low-income complexes where lunch deliveries are needed. In addition to the school lunch program, Eat More Tea is also hoping to expand the effort to offer a pay-what-you-can dinner program for families affected by the crisis using surplus food from restaurants that have closed. Talk about community!
Photo courtesy of Zingerman’s
Zingerman’s Company of Businesses began humbly in 1982 as a small delicatessen in a historic building that was once a neighborhood grocery store. Today, the company encompasses more than 10 independent businesses—covering every type of food as well as events and services—and they’re all rooted in our local community, working together as one organization.
And that sense of community has never been more evident than right now, as Zingerman’s is continuing to do amazing things to help support A2 locals. Recently, they’ve started a Healthcare Heroes program where you can buy a sandwich for a local healthcare worker and Zingerman’s will deliver it.
Weber’s has been a family-owned Ann Arbor institution since 1937. Over the years, it has become a destination hotel, restaurant and live music venue all rolled into one. Right now, while they are also doing curbside pickup of their normal food offerings, they’ve also converted to a curbside pickup grocery store. They’ve served over 400 people and families with this new service, giving individuals the opportunity to stock up on fresh foods without having to go to the grocery store. Options range from London Broil-style beef cuts and steaks to six different types of bread, plus pastries. You too can take advantage of this service by placing an order online, here.
Famous for seafood, steaks and pasta dishes, Gandy Dancer is located in the beautifully restored 1886 Michigan Central Depot. Due to COVID-19, they have pivoted to selling groceries to the community. In addition to staples and toilet paper, they are also selling meat, fish, seafood and more from their pantry. You can find the entire list of items available for purchase, here. Call (734) 769-0592 to place your order and schedule a curbside pickup!
Photo courtesy of Detroit Street Filling Station
Detroit Street Filling Station comes to us from the team behind The Lunch Room, and every eatery and bakery run by this team serves food that is entirely plant-based. Currently, both restaurants are running out of the Filling Station, offering curbside pickup and delivery.
When it comes to helping out the community, the Detroit Street Filling Station is doing a ton. Not only are they now exclusively offering beer from Ann Arbor breweries, but they are also selling grocery items from pantry essentials to baked goods from The Lunch Room! To support the A2 community even further, they are providing free meals to displaced service industry workers, laid off Kerrytown shops workers, and anyone else in need, regardless of ability to pay. Plus, they are continuing to deliver meals to healthcare workers every week.
This auto repair and maintenance shop has been serving the Ann Arbor community in different ways for years. From offering expert service to same-day repair and emergency towing, they are always working tirelessly to help save our cars. So it’s only natural that they would want to help save people in need during this hard time as well!
Throughout April, owner John Karageorge worked directly with Gus Boutsikakis, owner of Uptown Coney Island, to provide free sandwiches to anyone who needed one at Louie & John’s. Customers would pull into the auto shop parking lot while employees, donning masks and gloves, would quickly distribute them to those in need.
SkySync is an Ann Arbor-based software company, creating programs to help businesses synchronize their data. They’ve called A2 home since 2013 and are showing their love for the community during the pandemic by committing $25,000 to help feed local individuals in need. They are working with Food Gatherers to donate $15,000 in ready-to-go meals from local restaurants to individuals with disabilities and affordable housing sites for seniors throughout the county. SkySync will then donate an additional $10,000 in meals and restaurant gift cards to both U of M and St. Joe’s hospital systems so that essential workers are fed on shift over the next several weeks.
Photo courtesy of Palm Palace
Palm Palace is one of Ann Arbor’s favorite Mediterranean restaurants, and it’s no surprise as to why! They only use the freshest ingredients procured from local vendors along with herbs and spices imported from the old country.
As for doing their part, Palm Palace is definitely going above and beyond. They’ve been offering free kids’ meals to those in need for carryout. According to the Mediterranean eatery, they are not requiring the purchase of other items for children to receive free meals.
This longtime family-run store offers a wide variety of home improvement tools and supplies. So if you’re in need of items for your newest quarantine DIY project—this is the spot for you!
When it comes to helping out the community, Armando and Ita Reyes, the married co-owners of the hardware store, have been donating some valuable assets: N95 masks. Instead of selling their stock of 150 masks to the public, they donated them, along with 500 latex shoe covers, 100 packages of gloves, five respirators and 18 decontamination Tyvek suits.
What’s Cooking! is a local meal delivery service, helping to provide a week’s worth of food for people who hate cooking, those who can’t cook, or just busy individuals with no time to get in the kitchen.
During the pandemic, they’ve been working closely with Peace Neighborhood, a local family-supported nonprofit, to help feed families in need. The partnership yielded 350 delivered dinners back in March, serving more than 80 families, and has continued to feed many more throughout the past few weeks.
Photo courtesy of NeoPapalis
The team at NeoPapalis opened their first restaurant right here in Ann Arbor more than three years ago, but the family has been in the pizza business for more than 29 years, creating delicious Neapolitan pizzas every day.
To help during the pandemic, they’ve recently launched “PizzaPledge” to recruit local pizza makers to donate meals to frontline healthcare workers. How does it work? They donate one pizza for every four sold to help feed healthcare employees. Since launching on April 1, they have served well over 1,200 meals in locations across Ann Arbor, Detroit, Downriver, Oakland County and Toledo.
Zingerman’s premier Korean restaurant location, Miss Kim, serves authentic dishes driven by Michigan’s bountiful produce. Some of the meals you’ll enjoy here include Fresh Oysters and Pork Belly Bossam alongside Fried Calamari and Whole Lamb Shank.
Right now, they are giving away children’s meals to those in need. They are also offering reduced prices for food ordered for curbside pickup. But, if you or your family is in need, they are not requiring the purchase of other items to receive a free kids’ meal. You can place your order on their website.
Who did we miss?
Do you know of a local business going above and beyond to help out the A2 community during COVID-19? Let us know in the comments!