BBQ'd Productions restaurants, customers have donated 1,500 meals to those fighting coronavirus
Kris Schoenberger, the owner of BBQ'd Productions in Lake Zurich and Third Lake, has a goal to give 10,000 meals to first responders and medical personnel on the front lines of the coronavirus crisis.
To do that, he's harnessed the power of the Lake County community and changed his business.
In just over a week, Schoenberger has personally delivered to police stations, fire departments, doctors offices and hospitals some 1,500 meals purchased by members of the local community.
"We just want to put smiles on the faces of the people who are helping us," he said. "If we continue to help them, they'll keep being able to help us."
Schoenberger and his team have created new menu items -- a $6 sandwich and a $12 platter -- that local residents can buy and donate through the restaurant's website.
Each nets the company a few cents in profits per sale, he said, while he tries to keep his business alive in the coming weeks.
"The price pays for the cost of the food, for the employee to work and for us to keep the lights on," he said. "If we can stay afloat, pay the bills we need to pay, we'll worry about making money later."
BBQ'd Productions restaurants still have regular menu available for take out and delivery.
The first hospital Schoenberger delivered meals to was Northwestern Medicine Outpatient Center in Grayslake last Thursday night.
Dr. Steve Edelstein, the facility's medical director, said the staff appreciated the gesture.
"That night, when Kris dropped off the food, it was a very welcome surprise for all of us. He was so nice, and the food was so good," Edelstein said.
Dr. LeAnn Schmidt, the facility's operations coordinator, said Schoenberger's generosity went beyond dinner.
"We in the emergency rooms see folks during the worst of times and we don't always feel the love," Schmidt said. "Clearly, we are loved by our community. This was felt by every one of us through the thoughtfulness of a small business that I am certain is feeling the pinch of COVID-19 as much as we are."
Schoenberger is quick to give credit to the community members who have paid for the meals.
He said he was able to reach the community largely through Facebook, where he occasionally posts pictures of the deliveries. Donated orders have grown from around 100 to 150 to around 400 to 600 in recent days.
To make an order to be donated, visit wegrillitall.com/store/category/corona-virus-relief.