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Though the travel industry is reeling from the COVID-19 pandemic, there are many in the industry giving back and sharing what they can. Here’s one heartwarming example.

Due to school closures resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, Ocean House Management properties, including Ocean House and Weekapaug Inn in Westerly, R.I., are giving free lunches, prepared by their Forbes Five-Star culinary team, to children in the local communities every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Meals are distributed via a food truck they’ve dubbed Off the Menu. More than 100 meals were served in the first week, and the company plans to continue the program until the end of May. The company also hopes to implement a similar program at The Inn at Hastings Park, their property in Lexington.

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Weekapaug Inn in Westerly, R.I.
Weekapaug Inn in Westerly, R.I.

“We feel a deep responsibility to provide a service for children and families in need and to help alleviate the difficulties that many local families are facing at this time,” says Daniel Hostettler, president of Ocean House Management. “We understand that with the closure of schools, many underserved children may not be getting the food they ordinarily would receive. Our objective is for our culinary teams and staff to assist in a meaningful way, and inspire other organizations to do so as well.”

The Ocean House Fund for Charitable Giving has also donated $20,000 to food pantries and nonprofits to help families in need. In related news, Ocean House announced that Granny Squibb will donate bottles of organic iced tea to be distributed with the free food truck lunches.

“Other companies are invited to join this movement and donate healthy items for children and families in need if they are able,” says Hostettler. Anyone who would like to donate packaged, healthy items for food truck distribution can e-mail CHeyl@weekapauginn.com.


Diane Bair and Pamela Wright can be reached at bairwright@gmail.com