SAN AUGUSTINE, TX (KTRE) - A restaurant manager in San Augustine proved just how valuable a hot meal can be after welcoming first responders and storm victims to grab a free bite to eat.
Brett Tyler, manager at the family-owned Imogene’s Cafe and Home Bake Goods, said his family realized most of the town would be without power and many homes were severely damaged or destroyed by a tornado on Monday.
“First thing’s first was to try and get over here and get some generator power to get this place running and try and feed people," said Tyler.
Tyler said first responders came to mind when they were brainstorming who could benefit from free meals.
“We were kind of contacted and told by a lot of other people, residents in the area, that their houses had been severely damaged or destroyed and they were kind of out electricity and out of a home,” said Tyler. “So we turned it into anyone who was in need.”
The restaurant started by serving breakfast Monday morning, which turned into lunch, and eventually free dinners.
“As long as we’ve got the fuel and the food, we’re going to keep on cooking it,” said Tyler. 'We’re not able to take any more food orders right now, because our coolers can only hold so much... We are serving as much as we can."
Imogene’s Cafe is accepting donations to keep the meals free for those in need, but Tyler said the idea was never to ask for help to keep the operation going.
“It wasn’t even in the idea to take in any money, so the girls put together a jar out front and just wrote ‘donations’ on it,” Tyler explained. “Several people have stopped out back and drop off fuel cans, and donate, really, anything they can.
“We’re going to keep going whether people donate or not,” Tyler said.