COLUMBIA – State Senate candidate Judy Baker today called for citizens to financially help local restaurants and food distribution programs in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
“How many times in the past have our local restaurants sponsored softball teams, donated to local fundraisers, or catered meals for charities?” Baker asked. “Now, during these tough times, we need to give back to them.”
Baker, a former small business owner and founder of a nonprofit, said that the best way to help local restaurants is to patronize them as much as local restrictions allow. If a restaurant is closed for general seating, Baker recommended ordering take-out or delivery from a restaurant while, of course, practicing social distancing. Delivery is an especially appropriate service for those who need to stay home, and Baker also suggested generously tipping delivery personnel.
Another way to help a restaurant is to purchase a gift certificate; that gives the restaurant some desperately needed immediate revenue. The gift certificate can then be used later by the recipient after the crisis has passed.
“The food service industry is one of the largest employers of people in this country,” Baker said. “It’s not just restaurant owners who are affected by the pandemic. Servers, dishwashers, cooks, hosts, delivery drivers and many others will see diminished wages and tips while people are forced to stay indoors, and restaurants are limited to whom they can serve. I know my husband John and I will be trying to help these vital members of the community as much as possible.”
Baker also noted that others will also be struggling with food insecurity during the emergency. Children used to having meals at school may lose this source of food since school has been canceled. Some schools are working on solutions for feeding the children who normally eat some meals at school. Senior citizens or other homebound people may have trouble accessing a dependable source of food if they are unable to get to stores and volunteers are not able to deliver food.
Baker suggested that people can donate to The Food Bank for Central and Northeast Missouri (https://sharefoodbringhope.org/) or to other food delivery programs, such as Meals on Wheels (https://mealsonwheelscolumbia.org/), to help alleviate these problems.
Baker said that being involved in the community and being proactive is part of what makes a good public servant.
“Being a state senator is more than just voting on bills or making speeches,” she said. “As your next state senator, I will continue to be an active participant in the community. I will work at solving problems not just through legislation, but by helping people and businesses one-on-one.”
Baker, a former state representative, is the only announced Democratic candidate for the Missouri State Senate District 19 seat. If elected in November, she would be the first woman elected to serve as the district’s state senator.