MERRITT ISLAND, Fla. — A Merritt Island restaurant which just a few weeks ago gave away free meals to residents was at it again Sunday, this time giving out 1,000 Thanksgiving-style meals to people in need.

  • Merritt Island Pancake House gave away 300 meals two weeks ago
  • Sunday's meal included turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, green beans
  • More Good News stories

Merritt Island Pancake House owner Steve Mardis and his staff served up turkey, stuffing, mash potatoes and green beans, and it didn't cost recipients a dime.

“People are just in need right now," Mardis said. "They need to get out of the house, they need to have some cash and a hot meal."

Although his staff would have volunteered to cook and serve the meals, he got financial help in the nick of time and is now paying it forward

“We are paying out staff," he said. "We were blessed that we got our PPP loan in," he said. "This last week, a lot of our staff is already back on.”

Restaurant regulars Pete and Ann Johnston were among those who lined up to pick up the free meal Sunday.

“Five to six days a week for breakfast," Pete said, talking about how often they patronized the restaurant. "I was here this morning, I'm a hungry fellow.”

The Johnstons weren't alone. As cars rolled up, the food quickly went out.

In fact, Mardis and his crew started giving out the meals a little earlier than the time they'd scheduled due to people waiting for an hour for the hot Sunday dinner.

Two weeks ago, the Merritt Island Pancake House served about 300 free Easter meals.