LOGAN — Austin Weatherson was unsure how to react when an elderly couple, two restaurant “regulars,” donated about 17% – or $200 – of their CARES Act stimulus check to the business he manages (Stacked, a pancake eatery on Logan’s Main Street).
The couple dropped the money off in an envelope with a note that read “this is how we are choosing to spend our stimulus check. We believe in you and your business and wish with all our hearts that the amount in this envelope could match or exceed our desire to really be of help….we hope that this bit of assistance helps you to hang on.” The note also instructed the business to share it where it is most useful.
But before Weatherson could run out and tell the couple the business was staying afloat better than many — they had driven off.
“They took off before I could tell them that we’re actually doing a lot better than most other small businesses so the owner decided we were gonna pay it forward to the community,” he said. “I kind of just wanted to cry and hand it back.”
The couple, who declined to comment for this story, ate at Stacked nearly every day. They sat at the bar, split a coffee and ordered the same pancakes each visit while conversing with employees.
When quarantine began, they sheltered in place and stopped attending Stacked while it was closed inside and only open for take-out.
Because Stacked is staying financially afloat, Weatherson said, they have decided to give the money back to the community in the form of donated food. They’ve used their social media accounts to have followers anonymously nominate Cache Valley residents in need and have provided free food to those nominated.
“Seeing as how money in all situations could be tight at the moment, I didn’t think it was right to keep it or split it among the staff,” Weatherson said. “I wanted to give it back to the community or give them free food for the next X amount of times that they come in.”
Several Cache Valley residents said they are using their CARES Act stimulus checks to save for the future or pay off debt.
Naomi Ward, a former Utah State University student who graduated with degrees in English and Communication Studies, plans to complete an internship in Washington, D.C. with KidSave, a nonprofit organization that helps international foster children into families in their birth countries.
Ward experienced heavy anxiety about how she was going to pay for housing and other expenses in Washington, D.C., but is excited to have received a stimulus check to use for her rent.
Additionally, Rachel Mickelson, of Logan, plans to use her on summer rent in Logan while she finishes her degree from USU in special education and rehabilitation.