The Grinch of COVID-19 isn’t stealing the spirit of Christmas in Nevis.

Businesses in town, including restaurants that have been closed recently due to the governor’s orders, are joining together to give back to their hometown with a free drive-through dinner from 4 to 6 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 19 for the first 100 people who show up.

Gifts of food and new, unwrapped toys to be distributed in the community will also be collected.

Municipal Liquor Store Manager Erin Rhoades came up with the idea.

“I thought, ‘Why couldn’t we get together and do something for the community?’” she said at Monday night’s Nevis City Council meeting. “Everybody’s struggling. Everybody’s depressed. Why not turn it to something positive? We have this free time and some extra staff on hand. Why not give back? There are a lot of struggling families right now. And there are a lot of families where Christmas just isn’t going to be the same.”

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The meal, packed in a to-go box, will include smoked turkey, rosemary potatoes, corn, carrots, a dinner roll and a cookie. There will even be to-go cups of hot chocolate donated by the Muni.

Food is being provided by the Iron Horse Bar and Grill, Cindy Lou’s, Northwinds Grocery and Chop n Pops Bakery. Other event sponsors include the Nevis Fire Department and ComKam Builders.

“I think that’s wonderful,” council member Rich Johnson said. “I absolutely commend you for coming up with that idea and for the businesses who are helping out.”

Santa will be on hand to wave to people in their cars and hand out goodie bags as cars drive through.

“No one can get out of their cars and everyone will have to wear a mask,” Rhoades said.

As part of the drive-through event, Hubbard County Sheriff’s Deputy Josh Oswald will be spreading cheer by handing out teddy bears.

Restaurant staff will take care of preparing and packaging the meal. Some staff from the Muni will be collecting food donations from cars coming through, while others will be wrapping the gifts that are dropped off to distribute to area families.

“Staff from the other businesses are helping, too,” she said. “Everybody just jumped on board.”

Food will be given to the Akeley Food Shelf and all of the children’s gifts will go to churches in town so they can pass them on to families who need a helping hand in their congregation.

“Canned goods, boxed goods and frozen food are needed for the food shelf. Cash donations will be welcomed, too, and we will use them to buy gifts and food for families in need,” Rhoades said.