(Nelson, MN) Since the pandemic began this past March Sue Hawkinson of the Corral Saloon and Eatery has been looking for ways to turn adversity into community builders. She lists "We Are The World" as one of her favorite songs because of its collaborative, giving spirit. The lyrics say "We are the ones who make a brighter day, so let's start giving." It's something that she has kept at the heart of her efforts since she was a 12 years old girl.
Throughout the shutdown, starting in the Spring, people have been very loyal to the Corral. Their curbside pickups, deliveries and catered meals have been a lifeline for the small Nelson, MN business. Like many restaurants, they do extremely well during events like Mother's Day, Easter.....and Thanksgiving, but the state-mandated regulations during the pandemic have not allowed for any normality for these and the many other "normal" meals or catering events. Still Sue says she and co-owner Mark Sheller are grateful for what they "do" have. Because of that appreciative attitude they are going to give a free Thanksgiving meal to each of the employees working at Alomere Health and North Ambulance on Thursday. In addition to that, they are giving Elden's employees a Thanksgiving meal as well. Also getting in on the turkey day giving, Dustbusters ordered 50 meals for them to deliver to Law Enforcement working on Thanksgiving. In total they will prepare more than 1,125 Thanksgiving meals to go. Nearly 900 of those meals are going to paying customers; another reason they are so grateful. Normally, the Corral serves between 650 to 750 Thanksgiving day meals. Sue says they have 2000 pounds of turkey to feed the masses.
As another twist to prove 2020 is not normal, Sue and Mark have given their staff Thanksgiving off. It's something she does not recall ever happening before. In order to make those deliveries to frontline workers, Sue is calling on her family to help. Her kids, Josh, Katie and Abby, along with her three oldest grandkids Zach, Alex and Easton will join them in providing a little comfort food on the holiday devoted to giving thanks.
To once again quote the song, "It's true we'll make a better day, just you and me" (....and with some wonderful help from family and staff)
To hear a full One on One conversation, click on the following audio interview (AUDIO BELOW)