In response to needs within the hospitality industry, the Lakeville Area Chamber of Commerce & Visit Lakeville Tourism created Plateful of Love. This program served those who usually serve others, with holiday gifts for their children, grocery gift cards and a family meal.
Due to COVID-19 and state restrictions, restaurant and hospitality employees who experienced job loss, wage reduction, fewer hours or furlough were finding it difficult to meet the holiday expectations for their children.
“After conversations with many business owners in the hospitality and restaurant industry whose hearts were heavy for their employees especially this time of year, the Chamber and Convention and Visitors Bureau put together a program to let these employees know they are cared about in our community,” said Jeanne Hutter, vice president of Lakeville Area Chamber and Tourism. “The emotion and generosity this program evoked among our community was amazing.”
A call for help went out to Lakeville Chamber members who quickly responded to help Plateful of Love fund, shop and provide grocery gift cards. Lakeville Rotary contributed and allowed the program to expand to help more families. More than 35 local businesses and individuals participated in the success of this program providing 79 children with gifts and 39 families with gift cards.
“As a small business owner in Lakeville, we’ve appreciated the support we’ve received from Lakeville restaurants and bars over the years and I consider them friends,” Steve Volavka, Rotary president, said. “When the restaurants closed for indoor service in mid-November, many of us realized how our friends would bear the brunt of closures - and by extension, so would their families. When Jeanne Hutter shared the opportunity to adopt restaurants’ children by providing Christmas gifts through Plateful of Love, I jumped at the chance to give back to those who have given to us. I’m most proud that countless members of the Lakeville Rotary Club did the same ... by simply providing a smile to a child we’ll never meet during the holiday season.”
In addition to donations received from chamber and Rotary members, the Lakeville Public Safety Foundation, in partnership with the Lakeville police and fire departments, provided these families with a full holiday meal through the support of several local business owners. Multiple Twin Cities attractions also provided gift cards to the families for when these attractions open back up.