When schools in Marietta closed over concerns that children could contract and spread the coronavirus, the local school system stepped up, delivering the lunches they would have had otherwise.
“Marietta City Schools is doing an amazing job. These students are getting one meal a day, but is that enough?” said Thomas Monti, head brewer at Schoolhouse Brewing at Franklin Gateway.
Monti and his co-founder Justin Waller, both former teachers, decided to help out.
The pair has been soliciting donations of kid-friendly foods that students forced to stay at home can prepare themselves by throwing in the microwave.
“We’ve gotten tremendous outpour from all of our friends,” Monti said.
Monti is now speaking to local food banks and MUST Ministries about distributing the food. His goal is for the food to stay in the neighborhood, but not out of a lack of concern for other areas, he insists.
“This is a part of Marietta that’s changing, but it’s still a lower socioeconomic area,” Monti said. “We’re thinking about our neighbors. We want them to know that we care about them and we are here for them.”
At the same time, Schoolhouse is also taking care of its employees, Monti said. The company is currently paying employees their hourly wage plus their average in tips they earned in February.
“We can easily go a couple of months, but beyond that, I don’t know what we would do,” Monti said. “We’re taking a big hit. ... In the brewing business, our taprooms are basically what keeps the lights on.”
Monti estimated that business was down 60-70% compared to the last month. Although the taproom is closed, they have continued selling to-go beers and home brewing kits “to make business smooth (and) also to make sure our customers know that we are still here.”
Monti, however, is holding out hope that city leaders will step up to help small businesses in the event things get worse. He said they have already done a lot, boosting businesses on social media and allowing them to stay open while other municipalities like Atlanta and Smyrna order closures in an attempt to stop the virus’ spread.
“We don’t want to see 2008, 2009 again,” Monti said, referring to the Great Recession.