Church reaches out to help restaurants

What began as an offhand remark by Matt Hall to a waiter at a Mexican restaurant has grown into an ongoing endeavor by Church of the Living God to try to help sustain local dining establishments during the COVID pandemic.

The youth pastor said he and other church members went out to eat after worship one Sunday, and he told the server who brought their food: “Hey, we’re going to do our best to keep you guys going, you know.” Then he thought about it some more and figured it would be good for the church to make “a concerted effort” to support Winchester’s restaurants.

What the church is doing is designating a Restaurant of the Week and promoting that business on its Facebook page, which has several hundred followers, and among its Facebook groups, which number about 600 members.

If you go to their Facebook page this week, for example, you’ll see a picture of promotion for DJ’s Steakhouse with a picture of two juicy steaks, the address, phone number and hours of operation for the business and a link to their website, where you can order from the menu.

This is the fourth week of the campaign. The first restaurant they promoted on Facebook was Gaunce’s Deli and Café on Bypass Road, followed by La Trattoria on Main Street the second week, and DJ’s last week and this week.

Tiffany Gaunce, who owns the deli and cafe with her husband, John, said the week they were chosen they noticed they had sales from people who called in to place carryout orders and said they were from the church.

“It was very helpful, and it was also extremely thoughtful,” she said.

Hall said he’ll call a business on Monday or Tuesday and let them know they’ve been chosen as that week’s restaurant, and that they’re urging their members to order food from or go there at least once during the week. The owners have been receptive and appreciative.

“We’re starting with local restaurants, and we’ll eventually branch out to the franchises,” he said.

Maybe when things get back to normal, he said, they can have groups of church members visit the restaurants.

Dining rooms were allowed to reopen Monday after they were shut down in November by the governor, but some restaurants have kept them closed to be safe until the virus infection numbers go down.

Hall would like to see others get involved.

“Anybody on Facebook can see it, but we want our church members to lead the way,” he said.

“This is something, obviously, other churches could do and get on board with, or community groups. It’s certainly not exclusive to us. But we’re trying to come up with a way to be a blessing in uncertain times, and what better way than to use our business?”

Church of the Living God, at 114 Franklin Ave., has been in Winchester for about 25 years.

About Randy Patrick

Randy Patrick is a reporter for Bluegrass Newsmedia, which includes The Jessamine Journal. He may be reached at 859-759-0015 or by email at

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