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Local business helps hundreds without power

Published: Aug. 18, 2020 at 10:38 PM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - Cedar Rapids business owners and neighbors continue to help each other out after last week’s derecho storm left thousands without power.

One of those people is Willie Ray Fairley, owner of Willie Ray’s Q Shack on Cedar Rapids’ Northeast side.

“I just got my food truck and was ready to start selling, but once the storm hit I thought there might be something better to do with the food,” said Fairley.

Like many people, Fairley’s restaurant didn’t have power. Instead of letting the food go bad, he decided to cook it up and give it to his neighbors.

“They were outside working all day long,” he said. “I just said ‘hey, I have some food’ and started handing it out.”

A week later and Fairley is still helping people. Lines of people across his parking lot as Fairley and workers cooked up hundreds of hamburgers and hot dogs to hand out Tuesday. The number of people in need of a cooked meal surprised him.

“We don’t have a gas grill and charcoal was hard to come by,” said Eric Knox who lives on the Northeast side. “It was just nice to have a meal.”

Knox does have power as of this week and said he is now supporting Fairley with donations for all he has done. Others have nominated Fairley for a Discover Card giveaway which rewards Black restaurant owners.

“I would have done all this anyway and never thought anything of it,” he said. “It was how I was raised. It makes me feel good to know that people care.”

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