RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - You'll find a passion for giving inside of Comfort, a downtown staple for staple for southern cuisine.
In a few days, nothing visible will change about their restaurant; instead, their business model will be focused on feeding more than just their customers, but also the community.
"Everything that's left that normally we would be putting in our personal bank accounts is going to fight hunger," said co-owner Jason Alley. "We would like to be an inspiration for people."
Once they have paid their bills and staff, Comfort will give all of their net profits to Feedmore to aid in their mission to make sure the hundreds of thousands of people, who may worry about having enough to eat, are fed.
FeedMore serves more than 200,000 people in central Virginia through food bank programs, Meals on Wheels and a community kitchen.
"Feedmore is a really great charity - there are about four meals provided by each dollar, so you come in, have a pint of beer and you feed a family of four," explained Alley.
Comfort opened in 2002, and the owners say they have wanted to open a charitable restaurant for a while, because they know what it's like to worry about where your next meal might come from.
"I grew up pretty poor and food-insecure," said Alley. "My partner Michelle Jones and I talk about it, who would have thought when we were 10 years old, we would be owning multiple restaurants and be able to do something charitable like this permanently? No, would have never thought it would be possible."
They first announced the change on social media and their website Monday, and have continued to see an outpouring of support from the community. The phone continues to ring, and reservations continue to pour in, as people are excited to be a part of something greater than themselves, by simply sitting down for a meal.
Alley says their staff is eager to get started with the business model, and they plan to fully immerse themselves in how Feedmore is making a difference.
"They like the charitable component of our corporate culture. It is something that is a little more than a paycheck. They feel they are actually able to engage with the community and do good work, and we're hoping that expands as much as they want it to expand," he said.
Comfort is the first restaurant in RVA to adopt a full-time charitable business model, and they are hoping it ignites a passion in others to continue to serve.
"It seems like something people are really excited about. We hope that it lasts, and this is a change we can really make," said Alley.
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