A popular Columbia diner is crediting the generosity of mid-Missourians for helping them feed hundreds of hungry children, during the COVID-19 outbreak.

The Broadway Diner is located on South Fourth Street in downtown Columbia (March 28, 2020 photo from Missourinet’s Brian Hauswirth)

Broadway Diner owner Dave Johnson has been feeding needy children for about two weeks, children who normally have breakfast and lunch at school.

“Call ahead with your orders, we don’t need to see the kids,” Johnson says. “We would encourage folks to keep the kids at home. But if you can get here (to the diner) safely, we’re going to make sure that the kids are fed.”

The diner is located on South Fourth Street in downtown Columbia.

Mr. Johnson tells Missourinet they fed 225 children during the first week. 88 children were fed on Sunday. He describes the generosity as amazing.

“I’m very proud that we haven’t asked for donations but folks have been driving by, dropping them off, sending them to the bank,” says Johnson. “And from all over, not just Columbians.”

Anyone interested in donating can drop checks off at the diner or at Providence Bank branches in Columbia.

Meanwhile, restaurant employees in Columbia who have been laid-off because of the COVID-19 pandemic have received food from the Missouri Rural Crisis Center. Johnson says the diner has used the Rural Crisis Center’s Patchwork Family Farms for years.

“They reached out to us Friday, last Friday, two Fridays ago now, to see how many employees I had. They had a box of really nice pork products for everybody that I’d laid off,” Johnson says.

Johnson says they also provided boxes of pork for other laid-off restaurant employees, in the community.

Governor Mike Parson has announced that for the week ending on March 21, more than 42,000 unemployment claims were filed, up from about 4,000 filed the previous week.

Click here to listen to the full interview between Missourinet’s Brian Hauswirth and Broadway Diner owner Dave Johnson, which was recorded on March 28, 2020 outside Columbia’s Broadway Diner:

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