After the August 10th derecho hit Eastern Iowa, tons of people in the community came together to help each other out. Some of those people were local business owners, many of whom used their resources to offer free food and/or services to people in the area.

Back in August, we told you about Willie Fairly, the owner of Willie Ray's Q Shack in Cedar Rapids (see the article HERE). After the storm hit, Willie immediately jumped into action and began serving meals to people in the community at no charge. He has worked tirelessly to feed as many people as he possibly can, and his efforts have not gone unnoticed. According to CBS 2, Willie Ray's Q Shack has been awarded $25,000 through Discover's 'Eat It Forward' program.

The 'Eat it Forward' program was kicked off by Discover back in July, and the goal is to award five million dollars to black-owned restaurants across the U.S. Willie Ray's is the latest winner! They made the announcement on Facebook yesterday, writing:

"This award will help us to continue to grow and have the ability to serve more people! We plan to expand so please stay tuned as everything is finalized. We will also continue providing free meals at least once a week."

Here are just a few of the many, MANY nominations that Willie Ray's received:

  • Kate Rose Yoder - "Willie Ray's Q Shack in Cedar Rapids! His heart is huge and is giving back to Cedar Rapids in insurmountable ways. Cedar Rapids was hit by a derecho (inland hurricane) a week ago. Willie has been cooking and handing out food to the community. His heart and passion are to be commended!"
  • Ashley Lopez- "Willie Ray’s Q Shack has been a ray of sunshine since all this tragedy has hit our town in Iowa. He has selflessly continued to feed the community in Cedar Rapids and he does it with such positivity. We’ve realized sometimes we have to rely on our community and each other, he’s definitely put a smile on so many faces. It’s apparent he truly loves to help and feed people!!!"
  • Jennifer Lynn - "Wille Ray's Q Shack in Cedar Rapids, IA. This man is the definition of a humanitarian. Our city was devastated a week ago by a derecho. Willie has been feeding our community ever since at no charge for anyone who needs a hot meal. Many have been without power for going on 8 days and the only certainty in all this is Willie's smiling face and delicious food. He has gained a customer for life! I can't think of anyone more deserving than him."

To read more nominations just like those, just scroll through the comments on this video from Discover's Facebook page:

If you'd like to support Willie Ray's Q Shack, the restaurant is located at 288 Blairs Ferry Rd NE in Cedar Rapids. We are so grateful to have such an amazing person here in our community!