Waterford community pre-buys dozens of chicken dinners from restaurant paying it forward

A Waterford restaurant is helping pay it forward by handing out their chicken dinners to even those who aren't able to pay. 

You may be wondering how can a restaurant during a shutdown and a pandemic be giving away free food. The answer is quite simple - it’s all thanks to a very loving community.

The manager of Fork n’ Pint on Cass Elizabeth Road, Bill Schwab, says he noticed not many places offered free meals after the Thanksgiving holiday. So, he decided to sell one $16 hot chicken dinner for every two they gave away. And then the support poured in. 

Neighbors came in and paid for many, many more. 

“Your community loves you and they want you to come in here and get fed," Schwab said. 

Schwab says right now he’s got more than 100 meals paid for and he just wants to get them into the hands of those who need them.

“If you can’t do $16, no charge to you. You will not be turned away because you can’t afford to pay," he said. 

Schwab says you can pay for a meal online for you or someone else. The meal includes a half chicken, brussel sprouts, mashed potatoes, a roll and a cookie.

And when you stop in to pick it up, even if you didn’t pay, simply say: "'Hey, I ordered a meal online, I paid for it online.' We’re not gonna do any checking; we’re not going to look for your name; we're just gonna hand you a hot meal," Schwab said. 

“We don’t want to embarrass anyone, these are our neighbors. We just want to make sure that you’re fed.”

The coordinator for the Waterford senior center, Erin Asdell, stopped by the restaurant Friday to pick up meals to distribute to seniors and caregivers impacted by the shutdown. 

“They’re speechless, basically. They look at this meal and they go, oh my gosh,” she said. 

Asdell was elated to see the way the community has come together.

Schwab says this was only planned until December 8 but, since the shutdown is expected to continue it may last longer. 

“Nobody goes hungry on our, on Fork n' Pints' watch.” 

He hopes he can continue to serve his neighbors every day the restaurant is open. 

“I’m not the hero of this story. The people in the community are the heroes of this story because they’re buying meals for us to give to people.”