SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — Rita’s Italian Ice of Savannah is donating its entire grand opening budget to four local charities.
The Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Coastal Empire, P.A.C.K. Savannah, America’s Second Harvest of Coastal Georgia and Make-A-Wish Georgia will each receive $2,000.
“It’s just another example of Savannah showing up for wishes,” Megan Low of Make-A-Wish Georgia said Monday. “And that will just go so far with helping grant wishes for kids with critical illnesses. We are so grateful for them and being for wishes. I can’t wait to share the stories of the kids that they helped impact.”
Tim and Jesse Andorn say when they planned to open their first Rita’s Italian Ice and Frozen Custard location on March 13, they never thought their store would have been born in the midst of a pandemic.
“Coming into this pandemic, we wanted our shop to provide a sense of normalcy for our community in an environment where everyone can feel safe,” Tim Andorn said. “The gratitude that we have received from our customers has been overwhelming, and we truly are so grateful for them.”
Since the store’s grand opening celebration was canceled due to COVID-19, the Andorns decided to spread some holiday cheer by donating the budget they had originally set aside for their celebration to charities that serve Savannah and surrounding areas.
They took their idea to Facebook and let their followers help choose which charities the shop would donate to.
“Although we can’t control the current situation, we can control how we respond to it,” Jesse Andorn said. “We feel like these last few months have been hard on a lot of people including our local nonprofits, so we just wanted to do what we could to bring a little bit of hope to this community.”
A total donation of $8,000 will be distributed evenly across the four charities.
“We really could not have done this without our customers,” Tim Andorn said. “If they had not accepted us into this community the way that they have, we would have never been in a position to do this. We cannot say thank you to them enough.”