It's no secret that this year has been hard on everyone.
It is also no secret, that the restaurant and food industry has taken a huge hit with back-and-forth restrictions imposed by Gov. Andy Beshear.
But in Madison County, there has been a outlet of hope for local business owners through a small, but unexpectedly mighty ally -- the Madison County Foodies Facebook group.
Before the onset of the coronavirus, Cassie Beach, a Richmond realtor, created a Facebook group to get locals more involved in supporting the city's businesses, specifically restaurants.
"It seemed to be that a lot of people were saying there were not enough restaurants, and that they were driving to Lexington, so really it was to get people to look at the mom and pop stores," Beach said.
The idea quickly took off.
Now, with more than 11,000 followers on the sites page, it has become an outlet for not only business owners, but consumers and community members to support and perhaps discover a new local spot.
Since March, the group has only gained popularity, following food trucks, promoting to-go and delivery. This week, with the help of Gus LaFontaine and Ron Flickinger, the group has been highlighting restaurants on certain days to direct traffic to certain spots throughout the week.
"When your back is against the wall and you're trying to survive, you cling to any positive you can find. That's what this effort can provide to these restaurants; an opportunity to see that our community has their back. That we care for them and want to see them succeed. I'm excited to participate with you to show them our support," LaFontaine wrote on the page.
It is one outlet, despite whether the restaurant is located in Berea, Richmond or the county, that people have banded together to support their community as a whole.
As a reporter, it has been the highlight of my year to watch and cover the stories in which people like Beach, LaFontaine, Flickinger, other business owners and countless others have chimed in to help eateries and bars stay open.
Hats off and three very exuberant cheers for the page, its followers and the community that continues to make its priority supporting local.
For more information, or to follow the group, visit facebook.com/groups/2025007264311754/?multi_permalinks=2330006570478487&notif_id=1607045192658859&notif_t=group_highlights&ref=notif.