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Fargo restaurant helps feed homeless during pandemic

Famous Dave's serves up meat and side dishes to Moorhead homeless shelter.

Famous Dave's donations
Employee Chris Wheeler is shown at Famous Dave's restaurant in Fargo with buckets of mac and cheese and other leftovers, to be delivered to Dorothy Day House in Moorhead, a homeless shelter for men. Special to The Forum

FARGO — A restaurant here has found some eager recipients of its leftovers, across the river in Moorhead.

At least four nights a week, employees of Famous Dave’s pack up surplus mac and cheese, mashed potatoes, corn muffins, corn on the cob, baked beans, and sometimes, roasted chicken and ribs.

The food is delivered to residents of Dorothy Day House, 714 8th St. S. in Moorhead, a homeless shelter for men.

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“We’re very committed to be part of this community. We want to help take care of it at a very difficult time,” said Tim Olauson, the restaurant’s general manager.

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The donations began about a month ago, well into the COVID-19 pandemic that has disrupted business operations and livelihoods nationwide.

Famous Dave's donations, 2
Employee Travis Koenig loads up leftover corn muffins at Famous Dave's restaurant in Fargo, to be delivered to Dorothy Day House in Moorhead, a homeless shelter for men. Special to The Forum

Like many restaurants, Famous Dave’s, 2581 45th St. S.W. in Fargo, was initially open for takeout only.

Olauson said it was important to keep that connection going as people tried to deal with the shutdowns.

“For guests coming in, that might be the only interaction the person had that day,” he said.

More recently, the restaurant started offering indoor dining and is serving at about 75% capacity, with customers placing their order at a counter instead of with a server.

Dominique Kremer, 23, is a part-time hostess or “front of the house” employee at Famous Dave’s and volunteers at the Dorothy Day Food Pantry on Main Ave. in Moorhead, not far from the men’s homeless shelter of the same name.

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She said she noticed excess food was being thrown away at the end of her shift, and thought the shelter would welcome it.

Other employees pack it up and Kremer delivers it to the shelter, usually around 9:30 p.m.

Days that she works an early shift, she comes back to the restaurant later to deliver the food.

Whether she brings a “ton of food” or just a few pans, the men are excited.

“Super grateful. The guys love it,” Kremer said.

Related Topics: DOROTHY DAY HOUSE
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