Rotary Club of Shawnee giving cash to area restaurants to help staff during pandemic

Dave (left) and Kim Hager with Pegah's Family Restaurant received cash from Brad Nielsen (right) with the Rotary Club of Shawnee. The club is supporting restaurants like Pegah's while they had to close their dining areas during the COVID-19 pandemic. Brad Nielsen (right) delivered the cash. Photo submitted

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The Rotary Club of Shawnee is donating cash from membership dues to support local restaurants that have closed their dining rooms during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Brad Nielsen, president of the Rotary Club of Shawnee, said the initiative is part of the club’s ongoing campaign, which they dubbed “The Year of Giving Dangerously.”

Every month, the club has been working to raise $1,000 a month to give away to 12 organizations.

“This month, we can’t have our meetings and we don’t have to pay rental for meals or anything, so we decided to take the dues that we continue to pay and provide what we’re calling partnership appreciation dividends to area restaurants that have teamed up with us,” Nielsen said.

More than a dozen restaurants are receiving a total of $3,000 from the Rotary Club of Shawnee, including Pegah’s Family Restaurant, Nick and Jake’s, First Watch, Hereford House and Pine & Bamboo Garden. Nielsen said they hope the cash goes to support staff who are losing hourly wages and tip revenue.

“This is just a way of giving back to both Shawnee businesses and people who have teamed up with us in other endeavors,” Nielsen said.

Nielsen said the club members may continue to distribute cash in the future, but they are still discussing what they can do to support local restaurants.

“Rotary’s motto is service above self, but we also like to be good neighbors and good partners with the businesses of Shawnee, and we know that while they’re going through a hard time,” he added. “We can continue to prop them up and hopefully be their partners for many years after this is over.”