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The Garland Foodies set out in late 2018 to offer a friendly conversation on where to eat. Instead, they found themselves serving up a vital link to help local businesses survive a pandemic.
The group uses social media to share members’ discoveries of local restaurant gems. And when COVID-19 threatened the restaurants and workers’ jobs, the Garland Foodies took their mission to another level. Their audience went from virtual to live, showing up as customers and providing a lifeline.
The Garland Foodies were recognized Monday, March 29, with the City’s second annual Make Your Mark Awards.
“They’ve played a significant role in keeping some of our restaurants open,” Mayor Scott LeMay said in presenting the award to Garland Foodies founders Julian Olalde and Jason Collard.
While the crystal trophies bore their individual names, Collard stressed the Garland Foodies success has been in numbers.
“Y’all made this happen,” he said to the gathering of supporters, backed by a live band on Main Street as the Foodies celebrated. “And without you, there would be a lot more casualties in the local restaurant business.”
The Garland Foodies momentum, now nearly 11,000 followers strong on Facebook, continues to lead to even better things for the community. Following the Make Your Mark Award presentation, the group donated $2,500 to Good Samaritans of Garland to help provide food assistance for neighbors. The money came from the sale of Garland Foodies T-shirts.
“It hasn’t just been about eating,” Olalde said. “It’s been about building relationships in the Garland area and finding ways to support business owners.”