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Teri Plazak, of Breaking Bread Catering and Deli, said all her good ideas come to her in dreams.
This includes a dream she recently had about the brown bag lunches the restaurant already offers in its catering.
"In my dream, I saw the brown bag lunches and I thought, let's spread them out," Plazak said.
Ever since then, Breaking Bread Catering and Deli, with locations in Crystal Lake and Cary, has been planning to deliver brown bag lunches to medical staff, pharmacists, health care workers and first responders in McHenry County, who have been on the front lines as the county deals with the COVID-19 outbreak.
The bags include a sandwich, chips, cookie and a handwritten note thanking the person who receives it.
"All the cards are signed by the people who are donating," Plazak said.
Community members can donate $10 to go toward the bags at Breakingbreadrestaurants.com, or add a donation to their pickup or delivery order.
Teri Plazak, co-owner of the business with Chris and John Plazak, said the goal is to deliver 1,000 Brown Bag lunches, and for every bag, Breaking Bread will donate $1 to the Northern Illinois Food Pantry.
One of their first deliveries was 100 bags to the Cary CVS and Walgreens and Advocate Immediate Care in Crystal Lake.
"People were so excited," Plazak said. "They’re so thankful to know that people are out there really caring about them and thinking about them."
Breaking Bread has also taken lunches Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital in Barrington, among other places.
Like all restaurants in the state, Breaking Bread had to close its dining room and only offer pick up and delivery services, per an order from Gov. JB Pritzker meant to stem the spread of COVID-19.
"It really was affecting our traffic," Plazak said. "We were trying to come up with ideas that would work to keep our employees busy and keep them employed."
This was when she had the dream to offer brown bag lunches for "all these people out there who are working so hard."
A lot of customers had also been telling Plazak that they wanted to help, but they didn't know how.
"You think you’re just one person, so how could I, as one, do anything that will make an impact?" Plazak said. "But when we come together as many that’s when you can really make an impact."
Since offering the donation option, customers have really stepped up, Plazak said, and so have the employees of Breaking Bread, who make the brown bag lunches.
"It's been awesome," Plazak said.
So far, 300 bags lunches have been donated.
The brown bag lunches, and the fact that people are still coming and ordering food for pick up and delivery during the restaurants regular hours of 10:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. every day, Plazak said, has kept Breaking Bread and its employees "really busy."
"We just want people to know that there are many people out here who are thinking about them, and want to support them and appreciate all the hard work [they're doing]," Plazak said.