When Tim and Debbie Lang sit down to watch the evening news each night, the coverage is typically dominated by the COVID-19 pandemic and how it is impacting the world.
One night, while watching the news stories unfold, Debbie turned to Tim and asked about doing something locally to help, perhaps by providing lunches to families in need.
Tim supported the idea, as long as they bought the food from a local business. Like most local business owners, Tim and his staff at Lang Chevrolet have had to fight through the economic hardships caused by the virus, and he wanted to make sure their free lunch plan would also help support a local food provider.
“We’ve been here 20 years, and the community has been good to us, and we’re just sort of giving back,” Tim said.
The Langs chose to purchase the food from Grandstand Burgers in Paola, and their first “Take Out Tuesday” free lunch offering took place Tuesday, April 21, at the dealership. The couple paid for 200 lunches featuring a hamburger, chips and an apple, and a line of vehicles stretched out onto Old Kansas City Road as families stopped by to pick up the free food.
Debbie said the staff members at the dealership were a tremendous help setting up cones and helping with the logistics, and Bruce and Rhonda Cordle of Grandstand Burgers also helped out at the event, along with the Langs and Elizabeth Stookey.
The crew wore masks and gloves for everyone’s protection, and drivers didn’t have to leave their vehicles as they pulled up and received bags of meals.
The amount of meals turned out to be about perfect, although the Langs felt bad for the handful of vehicles that missed out after the food ran out at the end of the hour.
The feedback from the event has been positive as word spread throughout social media, and the Langs even received a $150 donation from a community member who chose to remain anonymous.
The Langs planned to offer 200 more free meals from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 28, at Lang Chevrolet, and they planned to purchase the food from Grandstand Burgers.
Debbie said the current plan is to continue the Take Out Tuesday event on May 5 and May 12 as well, but they likely will purchase the food from Paola Country Club on those dates to help out another local business.
“It just feels good to do something,” Debbie said.