Issaquah resident helps first responders and restaurants at the same time

ISSAQUAH, Wash. -- We continue to hear amazing stories of people lifting each other up during this difficult time.  A woman in Issaquah is doing just that. She is helping out several restaurants in the Issaquah-Sammamish area, but also first responders at the same time.

Issaquah has a famed restaurant that's been in the area for 50 years, Gaslamp Bar and Grill. On a typical Friday, or a Seahawks gameday, it would be packed. Wall-to-wall fans.

But nowadays, because of the COVID-19 outbreak, the inside is empty with the exception of a "skeleton" crew. Take out a delivery only.

"It's really difficult when people can't come in to enjoy the surroundings," said owner Greg Fossum. "Our business is down 80-85%."

Much like many of the restaurants in the region, they are weathering the storm.

"We've put more money in because the bills don't stop coming," he said. "What were trying to do is to keep most of our employees employed, and keep them, so when we do get through this, that's really what's going to make a difference. We have a great staff."

According to Fossum, many of his employees have filed for standby unemployment status.

In the area, many restaurants are looking for a lifeline somehow while trying to help others too.

That's where Michelle Enebo stepped in.

"I'm just so happy that I have something to do when my business is shut down too," said Enebo.

Michelle's business is her photography business. While her business is shut down for now, that did not stop her from helping her community. Just days ago, she posted an idea on Facebook. Have people in the community pitch in to buy dozens of meals at local restaurants, and then have those meals taken to Swedish Hospital in Issaquah.

The idea took off.

"The response was incredible. And then it got a bunch of shares. And there are people from all over donating to this," said Enebo.

She's also garnered interest from people in different parts of the country to see if they can do this in their communities. According to Enebo, she's gotten interest from people in Dallas and San Francisco.

Donations are now on a GoFundMe page whereas of Friday, it's raised more than $30,000. All of the money goes toward buying meals, said Enebo.

"I'm organizing 80 meals, twice a day, every other day. So it's 160 meals every other day and I'm involving different restaurants and different shifts," said Enebo.

And that's where restaurants like Gaslamp Bar and Grill stepped up.

"I knew in advance that a lot of people at the hospital were doing double shifts," said Fossum. "My cooks are incredible. They said we've got to give them some of our famous pressure-cooked chicken and some people wanted salads, and by the time you put it all together it was just amazing we got an opportunity to help out."

COVID-19 may be a worldwide problem, but it's being solved one community at a time.

"It fills my heart every single day that I'm just connecting all these dots. It feels really good. If you just spread a little love. It goes really far," said Enebo.

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