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Community helps chef get delivery truck, donations for meal program still needed

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Chef Dave Heide has been preparing meals around the clock during the COVID-19 pandemic and getting them out to people in need.

Through his non-profit restaurant Little John's and the Reach Dane organization Heide donates meals to over 600 local kids a week. This meal program is now on it's final week of funding and needs donations to keep the food going out.

"We have to get food out right now. We can't start a crowd funding campaign, we can't wait for it," said Heide. "We took their six week budget, we moved all of that up to fund three weeks. We have three weeks fully funded, but that means the next three weeks there is no funding whatsoever."

Heide's deliveries just got a little easier. He needed a delivery truck with an automatic lift gate on the back.

Systems Furniture Installations in Waunakee was selling that kind of truck for $15,000. Once Heide showed interest, they took over $11,000 off the price of the truck to help Heide's cause.

"It really hit home for me when one of my employees reached out to me and let me know that because of the donation, his family was able to be helped," said Tara Wolf. CEO of Systems Furnitire Installations.

Heide posted about the truck on Facebook, and it didn't take long for another donation. Jeff Nachreiner, President of Property Loss Specialist in Oregon paid off the remaining $3,500 on the truck.

Jeff Nachreiner handing a check to Dave Heide (Photo Courtesy - Dave Heide.)

"That's the biggest point of it for us," said Nachreiner. "I have a child, and knowing that there are kids that wouldn't eat, that tears my heart up."

The donations kept coming in for the truck. Shawn Eagan, owner of Eagan Auto Sales and Repair in Sun Prairie offered free lifetime oil changes on the truck.

"I'll do my part to step in, in an area where normally I wouldn't be able to help," said Eagan.

Bradley Wille, owner of Wille Truck Service in Oregon offered to do any repairs on the delivery truck for free.

Bradley Wille

"My dad told me, when the going gets tough, that's when the tough get going," said Wille. "The going is tough for some people and the tough people are going to help them out."

Aaron Frank with Madison Top Company offered to wrap the entire van for free. Swink also offered to design the Little John's logo for the side of the truck for free.

If you would like to make a donation to the Little John's and Reach Dane food program of $200 or less, click here.

For donations exceeding $200, contact Dave Heide directly at Dave@littlejohnsrestaurant.com.

Alec Ausmus

Sports reporter

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