Brenens coffee cafe has served nearly 900 meals in the Athens community. [WOUB]

Athens Coffee Shop Provides Free Meals for the Community

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ATHENS, OH (WOUB) — Acts of kindness can go a long way to make a difference for people in need during the coronavirus pandemic.

“The way people have stepped up and say we know there are people in need and we know your business is in need and that means a lot to us that they think that much of us that they would help us as well,” Brenen’s Coffee Cafe Co-owner Josh Thomas said.

Brenen’s coffee cafe owners, Josh and Jessica Thomas, were inspired by an idea from O’Nail-Hartman Insurance — to give away free boxed lunches in the local community. And with the help of 53 different donations, Josh and Jessica have been putting together 30 to 35 lunches a day for the past month.

“We want people to come in here and just feel comfortable and it’s worked. People come in and ask for a lunch and we say yeah sure and then it turns into how was your day and just having a conversation,” Thomas said. “It’s nice to have a connection with people. We’re just all in this together.”

The Thomas family has owned the cafe since 2000. Both are Ohio University alumni, and they said it was easy for them to want to help out the Athens community any way that they could.

“My wife and I have said for years, Athens has been good to us. We have a great business and people have supported us,” Thomas said. “If we can do our part to support other people and that means we take a little less at the end of the month then that’s fine, that’s what we’re going to do.”

With the continuous support of local organizations like the Athens Catholic Community Food Pantry, Josh and Jessica plan to continue the boxed lunches.

“People are helping us, so we want to pay it forward. That’s always been our philosophy, but it’s really coming through now,” Thomas said.