A community came together in Manassas, Virginia, to help homeless families in need — all starting with the owner of a candy apple store whose door was always open to those in need.
Sharita Rouse was using her Tummy Yum Yum Gourmet candy apple business to help the homeless even before the novel coronavirus pandemic started.
“No judgement, whether you’re homeless or not homeless, if you're hungry, you can come here and eat. I think everybody knows that by now,” Rouse said.
When the pandemic started to pick up, entire families arrived at her window for help.
“When the pandemic hit, I knew the kids had to eat. I didn’t know who was feeding them, so I said I’ll feed them,” Rouse said.
Rouse first got help from the Manassas City Police Department. Officer TJ Rodriguez said they were happy to get involved.
“Part of our police department's community policing program is to give back to the community, and what a better way to do so than by delivering meals to families in need,” Rodriguez said.
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Even so, Rouse needed more help and space to make enough food to satisfy increasing demand.
The owner of Zandra’s Taqueria, Miguel Pires, is using the kitchen in an old Gainesville elementary school in Haymarket for his business through the QBE Foundation. He had the food and the manpower to help Rouse out.
“It’s a real plus to try to be able to help your community and help those in need and also help us. I mean, we were able to put our staff to work,” Pires said.
Their combined effort has pushed out more than 2,000 meals in two weeks, feeding families in need across Manassas.
“We’re seeing this actually making a difference. We're seeing the money going towards feeding these hungry families,” said Jen Loeffler, a board member of the QBE Foundation.