MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – Café Gelato in Myrtle Beach turned into a food bank Saturday as owners helped IMPACT Ministries and United Way of Horry County collect food and money for its food distribution event next week.

Co-owner of Café Gelato, Doug Lammers donated $15,000 to IMPACT Ministries to cover the cost of its next food distribution, and loaned the group the restaurant parking lot to help collect donations.

Lammers says he wanted to do something to help after seeing how the coronavirus has impacted the community.

“Once this whole thing started with the pandemic and everything, we were just looking for ways to help with the community. We’ve been doing free kids’ meals through our drive-thru, we’ve supplied about 500 meals for the hospitals and (we’re) just looking for ways to help,” Lammers said.

The director of IMPACT Ministries, Todd Wood says the community’s food insecurity is at an all-time high.

“We had a family this week who was hanging out behind Bojangles and waiting on food to come out to get it before it goes into the dumpster. We had a family that we took a box to this week, the mom and daughter said that they haven’t eaten in two days. And when we brought that box of food they were just crying in thankfulness that we were there for them,” Wood said.

Dozens of community members, like Cindy John donated canned goods, boxed and bagged food items and money during the food drive Saturday.

“I thought to myself, when I awakened on Saturday morning, that was the priority for the day, accomplish something good; to be of service. And what can I do to help people that are struggling,” John said.

Once John donated food, she planned on eating lunch at Café Gelato. However, after learning that IMPACT Ministries was collecting monetary donations in addition to groceries, she decided to give the $20 dollars she had for lunch to the group. Then, she learned that the boxes of food the group gives out cost $30 dollars to make, she donated another $10 dollars.

“It’s not much, I know, but it’s what I can do, and I’m grateful to have the opportunity to do that,” John said.

IMPACT Ministries will use the $15,000 donated by Café Gelato to buy more food to distribute during Wednesday’s event.

The free food distribution will be held at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center on Wednesday, May 6 at 3 p.m. until supplies last.

For more food assistance, click here.