DECATUR, Ill. (WCIA)–Vinnie and Debra Barbee are well known in Decatur for their philanthropy to homeless people in town. To celebrate Easter, they served their 20th free dinner at 758 N. Water Street.
Last year, they had to cancel the event because of COVID. He said he missed being able to serve the community last year.
This time around, they switched to a takeout format to feed as many mouths as possible. Vinnie Barbee said he started these dinners as a way to give back and promote his restaurant, but over time grew to see the people he served as an extended family.
Barbee said he was “excited” to finally be able to provide a free meal for the homeless again this year, and hopes others are inspired by the holiday to find ways to give back however they can.
“The pandemic may have hit us, but it didn’t stop us,” Barbee said. “We’ve got to do what we’ve got to do. I wish they could come eat with me, but this pandemic isn’t going to keep us from doing what we’ve got to do.”
Barbee’s next free meal event will take place in August, and said he’s coordinating a car show at Civic Center on May 1st to help pay for those proceeds.