PHOENIX (3TV/CBS5) -- Jason Peterson is like a lot of restaurant owners across the Vallley who have struggled to get by during the COVID-19 crisis. "Not only financially, but emotionally," said Peterson. "It's been really tough."
But all those sleepless nights and fears about paying bills didn't stop the head chef from Phoenix's Switch restaurant from giving back to the community.
For two months, Peterson has cooked up and delivered dinners to seniors in need. One of his stops was Phoenix Manor, off 43rd Avenue and Thomas in Phoenix. That's where Dorinda Cline and her neighbors were treated like kings and queens
"Just to have someone from the outside say 'OK, I'll bring you a feel meal each day and you don't have to contribute anything, don't have to donate anything,'" said Cline. "It was just unbelievable. If I could hug this man I would."
Cline and her neighbors are especially vulnerable to the coronavirus, with many of them unable to go the grocery store or leave the house. And that's what prompted Peterson to step up and help, to keep these seniors safe. "I lost my mom about a year and a half ago, and she always taught us to stand up and do what was right when we were needed," said Peterson.
Peterson and his staff have delivered more than 1000 meals, which is about 40 a day. Cline was so grateful that she reached out to CBS 5 to Pay it Forward to Peterson and give him a $500 gift card. "I just wanted to let you know how much this all meant to me and the rest of Phoenix Manor that you were delivering to," Cline told Peterson. "I had Channel 5 and Pay it Forward reach out to you, because you were delivering the meals not asking for anything. I thought it was just awesome."
"Not everyone with a restaurant with food sitting in it would even thing to do something like that," said Cline. "It brings tears to my eyes and joy to my heart to think you entered my life."
Peterson is hoping to keep his efforts going with a weekly Sunday dinner for seniors that he hopes to get underway in the weeks ahead.