Stow starts 'Monday Meals'—nonprofit volunteers deliver food orders for local restaurants, keep tips

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Posted at 8:12 AM, Feb 04, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-04 08:14:19-05

STOW, Ohio. — When you’re at the Tavern of Stow, co-owner Dan Russo said it’s not all about the food, but rather the company you keep and the community you create.

“We want them to leave and say ‘Oh, we just left Dan and Carrie’s house,’” he said.

But in the wake of COVID-19, fewer people have come into the Russo’s second home and stayed at theirs instead.

“We started to see carry out occur more and less dine-in,” he said.

Russo is thankful for third party delivery services like Door Dash, but the fees those services take from his bottom line can be up to 30%.

“At the end of the day, it’s a big chunk out of revenue when you take a delivery model that has that type of cost structure,” he said.

Stow’s Monday Meals program aims to bypass those third-party delivery services and keep revenue local. Each Monday, if you place a delivery order from the two participating restaurants, a volunteer from a local nonprofit will deliver the meal.

“The nonprofit gets the donation from that tip or an additional donation from that customer ordering and we get that relief from that 25% or whatever that commission is on that delivery,” said Russo. “It does increase the opportunity to have the slow Monday turn into a good Monday.”

It starts Monday, Feb. 8 and Tavern of Stow and Bellacino’s are the two participating restaurants. Volunteers from Stow Youth Football and Cheerleading will be delivering the meals.

“The money that we get via our sponsorship and such, first and foremost, is about safety for our kids,” said Stephanie Patterson, the booster club president. She said they depend on sponsorships and local businesses for that funding and they want to give back whenever they can.

Stow Mayor John Pribonic came up with the idea of Monday Meals in December. He said he wanted to bring the organizations and restaurants together because in a year of losses, the program is what he calls a win-win.

“If you have strong restaurants, businesses, government, strong schools, you’ve hit a home run and that’s where people want to live,” he said.

The community proving that at the end of the day, they’re stronger banding together, even while staying apart.

For more information about participating restaurants and nonprofits click here.