One of the reasons Fall River and New Bedford schools hesitated to announce a week-long closure due to the coronavirus outbreak is because they knew that too many of their students count on free lunch (and breakfast) provided by the schools. When there is no school, too often there is a real problem with hunger. Yes, right here in New Bedford and Fall River.

Yet even as SouthCoast restaurants are facing some of their most challenging times – especially after Governor Baker ordered Sunday that restaurants can only provide takeout service and not allow dining in until at least mid-April – they are giving back to their communities. How inspiring is that?

Karl Pelletier owns the Tipsy Toboggan in Fall River. Days ago, he had already formulated his plan to give away a free hot lunch to any child who goes into his restaurant.

"I decided to hold off until Fall River closed their schools, but that happened today, so we made the announcement," he said on Saturday.

Children will get the free hot lunch each day until Fall River returns to school. There is no purchase necessary.

"Today was supposed to be our busiest day of the year," shrugged Pelletier, "But the Newport St. Patrick's Day Parade was canceled. We're hanging in there, though. It could be worse."

In New Bedford, a similar story. Arthur Solomos knows his neighbors at G & S Pizza. He knows that the cancellation of New Bedford schools means that many kids will not be getting the nutrition that they'd get at the cafeteria.

"My family and I have been from New Bedford for 31 years. This is the LEAST I can do for our community," said Solomos. "Our customers are like family. We'll do this until schools open again in New Bedford. The kids won't have to spend a nickel."

Neighbors helping neighbors. As the world struggles to solve this COVID-19 pandemic, a silver lining of kindness.

Restaurant owners that wish to join this effort can let Fun 107 know by emailing rock@fun107.com.

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