By Gregory J. Lamoureux
County Courier

ST. ALBANS: For most people, the day to day changes amid the COVID-19 epidemic has only been in place for about a week, but that week of social distancing can begin to feel like social isolation.

For one business owner in St. Albans, the small acts of kindness are how he’s helping out his community get through the tough times.

For two hours on Friday at Hometown Beverage and Redemption those 55 years and older could pull up in front of the store, and they’d be hand-delivered, curbside, a warm spaghetti dinner with a side of garlic bread.

Mike Manahan, the owner of the Quick Stop and Deli located on South Main Street, diagonally across from BFA St. Albans, was the brainchild behind the idea.

Normally his store would be filled with the hustle and bustle of students and teachers coming and going, mixed with locals grabbing a lunchtime favorite. That’s changed somewhat as BFA students are not attending school amid the coronavirus epidemic.

Manahan could be stressing out or complaining about the slower than normal business, but instead, he brainstormed a way to spread cheer with those in the community that needed it most.

Manahan posted on his business Facebook page to get the last minute idea out to the community, “Take a deep breathe and relax!” he wrote in his post.

He didn’t want anything in return for the meals- he just wanted those in the community to pay it forward. “Call a senior and chat,” he wrote in the social media post, “Do an activity (with), or read a book to your child!”

As customers came and went, during the Friday lunch rush, Rene Benway ran the free spaghetti meals out to locals sitting in their vehicles as the store served up more than 40 hot meals in less than two hours.

Manahan manned the register for the other customers as he watched a meal after meal leave his Deli. He explained that he’s seen the day to day, long hours that community members are working in order to hold the pandemic at bay- he just wanted to do his part.

Even though Manahan’s selfless gesture to feed meals to the community wasn’t for any gain at all, it was clear by one grateful recipient who came to get a meal that Manahan may have just gained another regular, “Such kindness, kinda makes you want to come back again,” he stated appreciatively.

Fame and added foot traffic are not what drove Manahan to give away the meals Friday, the true kindness in his heart shone through his smile every time another meal left the front door for someone who needed it.

Making it through a pandemic with our wits ends may just come down to people like Manahan and the good deeds they do on a daily basis to make everyone’s lives easier.