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Tybee restaurant, YMCA to provide free bagged meals for students

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TYBEE ISLAND, Ga. (WSAV) — A local restaurant and the Tybee Island YMCA have teamed up to help feed students while they’re out of school.

Salt Island Fish and Beer’s co-owner, Emily Liebtag, told WSAV.com NOW that when Savannah-Chatham County public schools shut down during the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak, Tybee Island was not included on the list of pickup locations for bagged meal distributions.

“Not to mention, we’re kind of far out, so even if you could get into the city and get it, it was not very convenient for our families here,” Liebtag said. “So, we needed to bridge that gap.”

She says her business and staff members at the Y want to do their part to help anyone that’s struggling during this challenging time. 

“People have asked us, ‘Are there kids on this island that have that need?’, and the answer is yes,” Liebtag said.

“In our eyes, if that number is more than zero, we need to do something even if a couple of kids need it, but there’s a handful,” she said.

From March 25 through March 29, Salt Island Fish and Beer will be providing bagged breakfast meals to children between 9 and 10 a.m. 

Meanwhile, the Tybee Island YMCA will have bagged lunches ready for pickup from March 25 through March 27 between 11 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. 

Liebtag says a lot of the items come from donated goods offered by Trinity Church on Tybee.

“They were able to give us some granola bars, some shelf-stable things as well as crackers, we have fresh fruit here, we have made fresh fruit cups for everybody, we have juice bottles,” she said.

The restaurant owner acknowledged that “everyone’s hurting” during this “really weird time,” adding that it’s not yet clear if the restaurant will be able to sustain its business for the time being. 

Despite the uncertainty, Liebtag says she and others are doing what they can to help those that need it right now.

“Our philosophy is that if you can help, help; make your table bigger,” she said. “If there is a need, you help fill it, and we can’t always do a lot, but we try as hard as we can to do as much as we can.”

Starting Monday, March 30, Tybee Island will be considered a remote location for Second Harvest, which is planning to provide boxed meals at the local YMCA, Liebtag shared.

“That way, people can pick them up from the Y, and from that point, we’re going to be able to just supplement them,” she said, adding that any monetary donations Salt Island receives will go directly to the YMCA. 

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