River of Life Christian Center has always been a church about people and knows that demonstrating love is the lifeblood of a healthy community.
“We want to be a light and support for local businesses, schools and many others that call the Greater Tampa Bay area home,” said Marcus Marshall, outreach director of River of Life Christian Center in Riverview. “We understand that many people have been negatively affected during the COVID-19 pandemic, including our local small business restaurants.”
Moved by the impact it has had in the community, Lead Pastor Johnny Honaker wanted to make a difference. The church ‘adopted’ a local favorite restaurant, Beef O’ Brady’s at 9622 U.S. Hwy. 301 in Riverview, on Tuesday night of April 14.
“The heart behind the outreach was to be a blessing to each employee,” said Marshall. “We encouraged our church to tip generously, and then, at the end of the night, Pastor Johnny gave each employee an additional tip to let them know how much we appreciate them.”
More than 100 families attended to show their support for Beef O’ Brady’s. During this pandemic, Beef O’ Brady’s has only been able to employ a few workers each day, but on this night, they were able to provide hours for 11 staff members. Aware of the social distancing guidelines, each family ordered from the curbside while remaining in their vehicles and waited in the parking lot for an employee to deliver the meals.
According to the restaurant staff, it was the most successful day of business that they have had in well over a month.
“This event displayed the impact that kindness has on people when they reach out and help one another,” said Marshall. “A Beef O’ Brady’s employee approached our pastor at the end of the night and said, ‘You have no idea how much I needed this tonight, for me and for my family. Thank you guys so much for caring.’”
Marshall said that these moments should remind us all of what we are called to do, and that is to love people.
“The pandemic has created a struggle for everyone, but we believe that we can overcome it when we join together,” said Marshall.
River of Life Christian Center is located at 6605 Krycul Ave. in Riverview. For more information, visit www.riveroflifechristiancenter.org or on Facebook at River of Life – Reach Our City.