CAMDEN — The Depot Dairy Bar and Restaurant in Camden has been offering a free hot dog meal to kids every Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. as a way to provide meals for kids who may be going without following the COVID-19 school closure order.
Through this program, they’ve served over 250 meals to community children with need.
According to owner Kim Dean, this started as a reduced priced meal for children, but due to donations from the community, they have been able to offer the meal for free. Those interested can receive a hot dog, chips, small drink, and ice cream cone just by mentioning the deal.
Dean used to work at West Elkton Intermediate School and learned of a food program through that school. When the schools closed, she couldn’t get that program out of her mind and kept thinking about the children who might be going without food during this difficult time.
“When school got canceled, I couldn’t quite get it out of my head that there could be kids who can’t eat during this pandemic. I got this hare-brained idea that I would have this kid’s meal and I wanted to do it for free, but in the back of my mind I thought, ‘Gosh, my business could be going under, I may not have the money to do this.’ I put a $2 charge on it and that is when people started coming through the drive-thru and saying they wanted to buy 20 meals and give me $40,” she said.
“With the money we’ve been getting [donated], we go buy more supplies. I’m thinking I’m going to be able to do this through the summer, with the help of the community. We’ve served over 250 meals to date. I’m kind of proud of us.”
Dean wanted to do this as a way to give back to the community for all their support before and during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The community has been overly supportive of us. We’ve just bought this business last year in January. Two weeks after we bought the business, my mother-in-law passed away. Then my husband in April had a massive heart attack,” she said. “I thought, ‘This is it. We’re going under, big time.’
“But the community stepped up! They’ve always supported The Depot, which has been in Camden for 42 years. It is a pretty important part of the community. I decided, they’ve always been there for us, and they’re even there for us now, so I decided to try to give back to them for being so good to us. I want to thank the community for always being there to support The Depot.”
Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH