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Supermarket chain gives employees $200,000 in gift cards to help struggling restaurants

Schnucks, a grocery store based in St. Louis, Missouri, wanted to support local restaurants they consider to be a part of their 'food family.'
/ Source: TODAY

As we make our way into the winter season with the pandemic still in the forefront of daily life, most businesses are struggling to keep their own doors open, but one midwestern grocery chain is reaching out to local restaurants to make sure they survive. Schnucks, a family-owned grocery retailer that operates 112 grocery stores in Missouri, Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin gave their employees a very meaningful gift this holiday season which totaled $200,000 in gift cards to local, struggling restaurants.

Schnucks, which was founded in St. Louis in 1939, made the decision to invest their dollars in local businesses by giving 14,000 Schnucks team members each a $15 gift card to an eatery within five miles of their work location.

“As many families do this time of year, we wanted to support others in our ‘food family’ - in this case the many local restaurants negatively affected by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Schnucks chairman and CEO Todd Schnuck in a press release. “We thought the best way to do this was by offering all of our teammates gift cards to these restaurants near our stores, extending our mission to nourish people’s lives to those many businesses and their employees who help make up the communities that we jointly serve.”

The help comes at a time when many of the local restaurants are struggling to stay afloat while operating at limited capacity or offering only carryout service. Earlier in the pandemic, Schnucks announced they would begin selling grab-and-go meals from local restaurants in-store.

In a time when many people are coming together to support local restaurants by purchasing gift cards, ordering takeout directly from restaurants and supporting local relief funds, Schnucks' move to help fellow food businesses is a bold one.

"Frankly the supermarkets have been a beneficiary during this time because more people [are] eating at home, the restaurants [have been] closed down so it was good for us to take some of that and help out those that are struggling,” Schnuck said on "America's News HQ" on Sunday.

Throughout the pandemic, we've heard heartwarming stores of people helping one another, including a Newark, New Jersey restaurateur who had COVID-19 and almost lost his restaurant but somehow managed to find a way to feed his community.

As many restaurants wait to see if they will receive the relief they need, it's the amazing acts of support from everyday people and businesses like Schnucks that help keep local eateries afloat amid the pandemic.