CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA)– Last week Governor Pritzker announced all public and private schools in Illinois close by Tuesday because of Covid-19 concerns. The governor says as of now schools are expected to reopen on March 31st. Monday to Friday from 11am to 3pm Maize Mexican Grill is offering free meals for students who will be out of school. They’re hoping this will give families one less worry.

“They can call in, and we’ll make the food for them, and they can come pick it up. We’ll have it bagged up and ready for them and they can come pick it up,” said Fernando Rocha, Maize Mexican Grill Lead Manager. For the Director of Operations this is more than just business. It’s personal. “Growing up, everyone here, lunch was our only real meal. I mean I remember running through the lunch line two times a day because I knew I might not have dinner and that wasn’t any fault to my parents. It’s just times were tough,” said Lopez. “There are struggling families out there. There are kids who will go without meals, and we just want to make sure that doesn’t happen.” Employees say it’s the gratitude they get in return that makes it all worth it. “I’m very happy for my family,” said customer Thomas Francisco. “Seeing their smiles like hey food. It just kind of…It’s a little heart warming,” said Rocha.

They’re not the only restaurant doing this. Businesses including El Toro in Champaign, McAlister’s Delis throughout Central Illinois, and Ingold’s Meat and Deli in Fisher are just a few of the places providing free lunches for kids.