DUBOIS — Red Lobster owner John Pompa, when a corporate decision mandated closure of the restaurant, decided that, rather than discard food that could not be preserved through a lengthy shutdown, he would try to share it with the community.

Pompa says he believes the decision to shutter the restaurant was made because of how uneasy many people were with the situation when it began to unfold.

But even before the corporate decision to close, Pompa said the restaurant wasn’t seeing many incoming orders.

“Before we closed, you could see it really starting to trickle down. Everybody was scared,” Pompa said.

Pompa decided to donate the food he could not preserve through a harvest program the restaurant already has in place.

“There was a lot of stuff I couldn’t just let sit there because we were down for six to seven weeks. There was a lot that would’ve expired. I (contacted) the harvest program, and they took most of it to the Soul Platter Cafe. I just didn’t want to throw it away. Someone could use it, especially in this time,” Pompa said.

This harvest program Pompa has in place for the restaurant in intended to provide a way to utilize any food close to its expiration date. The program is through Crystal Rishell at Fayette Resources, who distributes the food to entities with which they have contacts who need it.

“We have a harvest program, usually for anything getting close to expiring. We cook it off and they come get it to distribute to the community,” Pompa said.

Food sent to the Soul Platter Cafe included anything that had already been prepped for service, and anything in an already open container. Rishell picks up food for the program every Wednesday.

“I also gave a lot of food to people who I knew were hurting already,” Pompa said. “I love helping out.”

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