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Community Champions: Business donates grand opening budget to non-profits

Updated: Dec. 16, 2020 at 6:31 PM EST
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Not all local businesses have struggled because of the pandemic. A new walk-up Italian ice stand, Rita’s Italian Ice, in Savannah has done good business since opening in March.

Tim and Jesse Andorn visited several local non-profits this week to gain information. But it turned into their own giving tour.

“This has been one of the most amazing days here in Savannah, just going from organization to organization and seeing exactly what it takes.”

It was decidedly better than what was supposed to be their best day in Savannah after having lived here for five years.

“We opened for business on March 13th, 2020.”

“Friday the 13th.”

And, even when the world shut down just days later, the Andorns made the best of their new business

The couple opened Savannah’s first Rita’s Italian Ice store on Highway 80 in Wilmington Island and spent the summer serving up ice and frozen custard but could not formally introduce themselves to the community.

“With social parameters, we didn’t think it was prudent to do our grand opening and we wanted to repurpose those funds for a grand opening in a meaningful and impactful way for the Savannah area.”

So they took the $8,000 they had budgeted for an opening and donated it to four local charities - P.A.C.K. Savannah, America’s Second Harvest, the Ronald McDonald House of the Coastal Empire and the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

“We didn’t even know this was coming. So, this is just such a great time of year, the need has increased so much in our community and there’s still so many people at risk of hunger, this is going to help us to get out and get more food and provide more food to our community,” America’s Second Harvest Executive Director Mary Jane Crouch said.

“It means so much to us to have people in the community come out and support PACK and support kids like this. We’re just really grateful,” P.A.C.K Savannah founder Malena Stone said.

The Andorns selected the organizations to donate to based on suggestions from their customers. But what these WTOC Community Champions saw and heard at the non-profits told them just as much.

“Every little bit that anybody can do for these organizations is greatly appreciated. And we’re happy to be a part of it. Yeah, exciting. Absolutely wonderful, exciting, can’t wait until next year to do even more.”

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