CONROE, Texas - One single act of kindness has spurred a chain reaction in Montgomery County after a Conroe restaurant inspired a whole community to open up their hearts for their neighbors in need.
In the heart of Conroe, across from the courthouse on Main Street, one step inside Sunday Dinner restaurant reveals not only delicious food made from scratch, but also on the menu, something whipped up and served straight from the heart.
"We want our restaurant to be successful, but what we want more than that is to be an impact in our community,” said Jerry Vineyard, the restaurant’s co-owner.
When Vineyard opened the restaurant in July 2016, he says he wanted to use his new business to help the homeless and others in need, just like he does with his church.
His idea: the Love Your Neighbor Wall.
Here’s how it works: customers buy a lunch and drink, write a message onto a blank card, then post it to the wall near the cash register.
When someone who needs a lunch but can't pay for it comes in, that person pulls the card off the wall, takes it to the cash register, and receives a free meal.
"If anybody is hungry,” said Vineyard, who says customers have donated hundreds of meals so far. “It doesn't matter if you're homeless or mortgaged, you have a house and three cars."
During the cold weather blast in early January, co-owner Amber Wilson took the restaurant’s giving a step further. She said she was inspired after seeing a donation of coats from nearby business owner Stanley Johnson and by a social media post about a restaurant in New York.
"The sign said something like ‘Need a coat, take one. Wanna help? Leave one,’ and it was beautiful,” said Wilson. “So I just tagged everybody and said ‘I want to see this happen at Sunday Dinner,’ and the very next day, we had a coat rack."
Since then, the coat rack has been drawing donations and buzz all over town, including an article in The Courier of Montgomery County.
"We've seen hundreds come through, especially since the article this morning,” said Wilson. “This thing has been revolving nonstop.”
Wilson says the momentum of giving that the coat rack has inspired is now spilling over to the Love Your Neighbor Wall.
"My confidence in mankind is renewed substantially,” said Stanley Johnson.
The owners say they'd love to expand the Love Your Neighbor Wall to other places.
Anyone who wants to help is asked to come by the restaurant, located at 330 Main Street in Conroe near West Davis Street.
Anyone who can’t make it can call the restaurant at (936) 494-0119 or reach out on social media, and staff will come pick up the donations.