HUBBARD, Ohio (WYTV) – We are all waiting for that return to “normalcy” from the pandemic and, in the meantime, this week’s Hometown Hero is doing what she can to help the Hubbard community.
Mary Beth Williams owns a banquet hall in Hubbard called The Gentry. The pandemic has certainly taken a toll on her business, but that hasn’t kept her from finding ways to use her business to give back.
“We’re making the best of what we have and we are staying afloat,” she said.
The pandemic took deep cuts to her revenue, forcing her to close for a period of time and seeing numerous cancellations. Still, the struggle didn’t keep her from thinking of others, realizing the pandemic was also hurting fundraising efforts for school athletics and extracurriculars.
“I knew how important this money was for the kids because that’s how they buy their equipment, that’s how they buy what they need for the sport,” Williams said.
So, she made a change to her business model. After getting the green light from the health department, she began operating as a take-out style restaurant and sponsoring specific groups each week.
“We added $3 and we took our dinners to $15, and $3 of every dinner that we sold would go back to the kids because it’s all about the kids and I knew they were struggling,” Williams said.
Hubbard senior Isaac Powell is involved in many athletic programs as the school’s mascot. He says the support has helped a lot.
“She has such a heart of gold. She does things to bless others,” he said.
Powell nominated Williams, saying her kind heart extends beyond the schools. When his grandfather, a church pastor, was hospitalized with COVID-19 in December, Williams provided food for his family and those who cared for him.
“The day that he was released to come home, she actually provided food for the staff on his floor all the way in Boardman,” Powell said.
To date, Williams says the take-out fundraisers have helped raise around $15,000 for the community and school programs.
“When you bless others, it comes full circle and then God blesses you back. So I’m just glad that I can be an instrument and help so many others,” Williams said.
The take-out fundraisers are held every Wednesday from 3-7 p.m. at The Gentry in Hubbard.
They will also be starting up Fish Fry Fridays in February.