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Local eateries donate to hospice

Vincent and Jessica Johnson, owners of The Schnitzel Bomber in Soldotna
Hunter Morrison
Vincent and Jessica Johnson, owners of The Schnitzel Bomber in Soldotna

Everyone loves going out to eat. But, what if you could eat out for a good cause? Soldotna area foodies had the chance to do so yesterday as part of Hospice of the Central Peninsula’s annual Dining for Dignity fundraiser.

The organization partnered with local favorites, including Kenai River Brewing Company, Pizza Boys, Mel’s and others. A portion of the day's earnings were donated directly to the organization.

“Hospice is a really great, important organization in our community because they support families that are facing a very difficult time in their lives of loss,” said Rhonda McCormick, who is on the board of directors for Hospice of the Central Peninsula. “They support families through end-of-life and beyond, and all of their services are free. Everything hospice does is free.”

Services include education, personal care supplies, grief support and more.

One of this year’s Dining for Dignity participants was The Shnitzel Bomber, just off K-Beach Road. The restaurant, which is drive-through and pick-up only, specializes in serving scratch-made German-American comfort food.

While the restaurant participated in the fundraiser last year, owner and operator Vincent Johnson says this year was personal. His grandmother utilized hospice services and passed away earlier this year.

“I got to see first-hand what my mom was going through, and hospice, being able to come in and give her an hour so she didn’t have to bear the brunt of the whole thing, it means a lot,” Vincent said. “I’m very passionate and I always try to give back to the community.”

The restaurant recently suffered a major stove malfunction, resulting in their closing for nearly a week. Johnson co-owns the restaurant with his wife, Jessica. They were determined to open back up for the fundraiser.

“Even though it’s just me and him owning it, it’s the community restaurant,” Jessica said.

“They keep us going for sure,” Vincent added.

The couple says that some customers waited in the restaurant's drive-through for nearly an hour to contribute to the cause. The fundraiser brought many new customers to the restaurant, tripling their average daily business.

Although the original plan was to donate 15% of the day’s earnings to Hospice, they are thinking about increasing that amount. The restaurant hopes to donate to other groups, like veterans and teachers, in the future.

“It’s just a great partnership between all these local businesses and a local non-profit organization, and the people of our community,” McCormick said.

For more information about Hospice of the Central Peninsula, check out their website.

Hunter Morrison is a news reporter at KDLL
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