Local love: The gift of giving

Deborah Haak-Frost|Watershed Voice

Kelsey Block Brewing Company delivers free meals to DASAS residents

The fine folks at Kelsey Block Brewing Company recently prepared and delivered more than 15 free meals to residents at a Domestic and Sexual Abuse Services safe house/shelter in St. Joseph County.

Owner Jerry Barkley said the brewery, located at 41 N. Main St. in downtown Three Rivers, provided burgers, cake, and other food items to residents Thursday evening. The act of generosity stemmed from a conversation Barkley had with an old friend sometime last week.

“My longtime friend William Furr of Sturgis is a board member for DASAS and he stopped in after doing some errands for them last week,” Barkley said. “I asked him how the budget was doing over there and he indicated that it was OK, but it could get tough quick if (the stay-at-home orders) last, so I offered to provide a meal to the residents as a way to help the cause a bit.”

Allie Kerley frosts a cake on Thursday, April 16 at Kelsey Block Brewing Company in downtown Three Rivers. The brewery, located at 41 N. Main St., provided burgers, cake, and other food items to residents of a Domestic and Sexual Abuse Services safe house/shelter in St. Joseph County Thursday evening. (Photo Provided)

This isn’t the first time Barkley has contributed to the southwest Michigan nonprofit, and he said it certainly won’t be the last time.

“I will help them out again. I have been a supporter of DASAS for a long time,” he said. “When I was a high school teacher we did canned food drives to support them, and I have made designated donation to them through the St. Joseph County United Way. If any readers want to do that, call Kelly Hostetler (at (269) 467-9099) and she will be happy to make that happen.”

Kelsey Block, like many restaurants across the nation and around the world, has had to change the way it does business in order to stay open during the COVID-19 global pandemic. The brewery after closing its restaurant and tasting room to the public, reduced its hours, made a carryout menu “that is sustainable from a low food waste standpoint,” and have been operating with a minimum crew. 

“We have also started selling cans of our beer to go as either single cans or four packs,” he said. “Of course growlers and howlers are still available too.”

The brewery’s regulars have continued to support the downtown business, Barkley said, by stopping by to pick up burgers and growler fills.

“It has been worth doing carry-outs just to be able to see our regulars for a few minutes when they pick up food,” he said. “I have been surprised at the number of first-time customers we have met. I hope that they will return when inside service returns.”

If you would like to order carryout food or beer, Barkley said you can call the brewery during its carry-out hours Wednesday through Saturday from 5 to 8 p.m. at (269) 718-3667 to order. 

“Our menu and a list of currently available beer can be found online at kelseyblock.com. Starting this weekend we will have a few grocery items available for purchase such as milk, potatoes, onions, chips, chicken breast portions and sanitizer spray.”

For more information on DASAS and how to support its mission “to end domestic violence and sexual assault in southwest Michigan,” visit their website at www.dasasmi.org. If you need help call 1-800-828-2023.

Alek Haak-Frost is executive editor of Watershed Voice.

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