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Bloomington business owners find ways to help community during COVID-19 pandemic



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BuffaLouie's is located at 114 S. Indiana Ave. near the Sample Gates. The restaurant is delivering school lunches to children who qualify for free lunches through Monroe County Community School Corporation while classes are canceled during the COVID-19 pandemic. IDS file photo

As COVID-19 continues to spread throughout the U.S., businesses and restaurants are coming up with up with ways to keep their businesses afloat. 

Gov. Eric Holcomb ordered restaurants to close down seating through the end of March. Many have switched to carry-out, delivery and drive-thru orders only. Some have switched to donating food and making meals for children and those experiencing food insecurity. 

BuffaLouie’s owner Ed Schwartzman and his wife Jaimie made lunches last week for Bloomington children experiencing food insecurity. Since schools in Monroe County were closed, children who qualified for free or reduced lunches weren’t able to eat lunch as easily. 

The Schwartzmans posted on their social media at first, telling their followers they wanted to help out those less fortunate, Ed said. A couple days later, they had about 50 families asking for help. 

The owners and employees of BuffaLouie’s delivered grocery-style items like peanut butter, bread and fruit to about 110 houses, Ed said. They gave food to about 150 kids a day, using their delivery drivers to deliver the meals. 

Ed said soon after they began delivering food, they received messages from community members wanting to help out. People wanted to donate money to keep the program going so the Schwartzmans didn’t have to pay out of pocket. 

He said he plans to set up a permanent not-for-profit wing of BuffaLouie’s where people can donate money, and BuffaLouie’s will partner with an organization to help feed members of the community. 

“This has been such a healthy thing for all of us in this chaos,” Ed said. 

He said BuffaLouie’s is currently looking for an organization to partner with to continue to help feed the community. If any organization is interested, Ed said to email info@buffalouies.com

Jeff Mease, the owner of Bloomington businesses such as Pizza X and Lennie’s, is also working to help those in the community who are facing food insecurity. 

Mease’s company, One World Enterprises, has a page where food and beverage workers can order zero-cost meals for them and their families. Mease began doing this after having to lay off close to 100 people due to the coronavirus, according to an article in the Herald-Times. Families can pick up food between 2 and 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday at Woolery Mill. Orders should be made by 12 p.m. to ensure availability, according to the website. 

Other local restaurants around Bloomington are switching to carry-out and drive-thru only. Upland Brewing Company is offering zero-contact curbside pickup and delivering beer to houses on Friday and Saturday, according to its social media. 

Cardinal Spirits is making its own hand sanitizer with extra high-proof alcohol, according to its Instagram. Two Sticks Bakery has switched to pick up only, and Crumble Coffee and Bakery is open for takeout and online ordering.

To keep up with Bloomington businesses, most are posting online about what they're doing during the pandemic.

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