A Helping Hand: Local Restaurant Offers Free Meal to Furloughed Service Industry Workers

Manager Joe Rivas from a post of Facebook with an invitation to furloughed service industry workers.

City of Port Isabel

As we all struggle with the Covid-19 pandemic affecting everyone around the globe, it’s heartwarming to witness acts of kindness in our community to help those affected by this devastating situation.

On Thursday, April 16th, from 2 to 4 p.m., Pelican Station Restaurant in Port Isabel held an Appreciation Day for those in the restaurant and hotel service industry. The restaurant gave away free meals to workers in the Port Isabel area and South Padre Island who are unemployed due to the forced closures of restaurants and hotels.

Manager Joe Rivas posted a short video on the restaurant’s Facebook page, inviting those affected to come in and get a meal to go during the designated time. Rivas said the idea came from restaurant owner Al Salazar and his son Cameron, saying “Cameron and his dad Al wanted to do this for our friends here in the Port Isabel area.”

General Manager Joe Vasquez, who is in his 11th year with the Salazar family restaurant group, spoke via telephone about the success of the venture.

“We gave away a total of at least 400 meals,” Vasquez reported, adding that also included meals to some city workers and emergency responders. Vasquez noted that the Salazar’s have had to close six of their nine restaurants in the area.”

Despite their personal setbacks, they’ve continued to offer takeout and curbside service, including $5.99 daily lunch specials. “We’ve been trying to help any way we can, selling everything from beer, wine, and spirits to produce, eggs, and milk, bleach, gloves and toilet paper,” said Vasquez.

Pelican Station has even been offering free delivery, covering a wide area ranging from Laguna Vista to the North end of South Padre Island.

“We have a lot of longtime regular guests who are elderly and can’t get out,” Vasquez commented. He said family members from as far away as San Antonio are placing orders for their elderly parents who live in Port Isabel. Pelican Station delivers the meals to their doorstep, then contacts their customers to notify them their food has been delivered and is waiting for them right outside their door.

Speaking of the difficult times we’re all facing, Vasquez said, “Every day we get through this is one day less we have to endure. Here at Pelican Station, we’re trying to keep spirits up with positive energy and just keep going forward. Hopefully if we work together, we’ll all get through this.”

Pamela Cody – www.portisabel-texas.com

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