While many people were enjoying Labor Day, employees and volunteers at the Olive Garden in Wichita Falls were busy working overtime. It was all to give back to the emergency responders in the community.
"We didn't have to get here too early," Sal Ramirez, the General Manager at Olive Garden said, "We got here at 7:00 a.m. because we had already been prepping up and getting things ready for a few days now."
Still, arriving at work at 7:00 a.m. is two hours earlier than the employees usually have to come in. However, for them,3 it was worth it.
"It's one of those things that we just want to give back to the people in the community that we rely on even on days when a lot of people are taking the day off," he said.
Every year, the restaurant provides meals to various emergency responders. This was actually their 14th year to do it.
They went out to various parts of the city to deliver the meals. This included the Wichita Falls Police Department, the emergency room, and all of the fire departments. This year the restaurant added the Wichita County Sheriff's Office to the list, since they too work on the holidays. However, before packing up the cars and driving off, a lot of prepping was done.
"It is a lot of food," Ramirez said, "I just made close to 200 pounds of pasta, and about 15 gallons of sauce. Close to 80 dozen bread sticks."
So, as you can imagine, it takes a lot of time and quite the assembly line. Plus, it costs a lot of money. However, that didn't matter to everyone at the restaurant. They said, you can't put a price on what the emergency responders do for the community.
"It's great to hear from those people that we serve, you know, their appreciation and their thank you as well," he said.
The distributions are a part of a national program. More than 800 Olive Garden locations across the nation served the emergency responders on Labor Day.