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'Franks for Friends': Norfolk hot dog joint working with community to feed those in need

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Posted at 1:45 PM, Mar 03, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-03 17:42:28-05

NORFOLK, Va. - "I was really scared at the beginning of this, wondering how we were gonna make it," said Tarah Morris.

Morris gets visibly emotional thinking about her pride and joy, an Old Dominion University staple - Perfectly Frank in Norfolk.

"It's been hard. There is not as much volume, not as many students walking around," Morris, Perfectly Frank's owner, said.

But, for the past year, the restaurant has been getting by, continuing to serve up its famous franks, tots and burgers.

"Since COVID started, we have had overwhelming support from customers, friends and family wanting to help us stay open," Morris said.

One of those customers came into the comfort food hangout a week ago, looking to give a little extra love to the staff.

"She wanted to tip them each $100, and so she gave us $2,000 to give them each $100, and then said to use the leftover to purchase meals for people in need," she said.

That act of generosity came from what Morris calls an angel donor.

"I cried; it was very touching," she told News 3.

The gift spawned a corkboard in the restaurant.

"People donate us money, and we use the money to pay for meals to get to people in need," she said.

The new program is called "Franks for Friends." You buy a meal, stick it up on the board, and anyone can get a hot meal to go, no questions asked.

"It doesn't need to be a homeless person, it doesn't need to be someone starving; it can be anyone who lost their job or is struggling," Morris said.

Morris says since the program started a week ago, they have gotten about $1,000 in food donations for the board.

Related: Norfolk woman paying it forward by giving away her diamond wedding ring set

"It's just a little token of appreciation that goes a long way," she said.

It's an act of kindness that keeps the staff smiling at Perfectly Frank - a little glimmer of hope that in the end, things will be "perfectly" alright.

"We are so grateful for the community support," Morris said.