Hurricane Irma: Two Marco Island restaurants, volunteers serve free food
Hurricane Irma barreled through the Caribbean, killing dozens and flattening entire islands. After that, Irma made landfall in the Florida Keys, killing at least nine and doing untold damage. hen According to the NASA Earth Observatory, the damage to the Virgin Islands is obvious even from its Landsat 8 satellite, which was able to capture high-definition photographs showing the islands’ lush green turning to a muddy brown after Irma hit them at Category 5 status with 185 mile per hour winds. There’s no single reason why the island chain turned into a completely different color, though it is easily explained by a combination of factors. Irma tore up ground, sprayed debris and generally left the ground covered in detritus. Wochit
Hurricane Irma's direct hit brought out the community spirit in a Marco Island parking lot Tuesday.
Well-known local eateries Kretch's and CJ's on the Bay and a host of volunteers teamed up under a hot sun to fire up the grills and serve hundreds of out-of-power storm survivors free burgers, salmon, swordfish, fries and salad.
Dozens of people — first responders to the front of the line — loaded up paper plates from the trays and bowls of food set up beneath tents to get a hot meal, see friends and swap storm stories.
"It's amazing to have the community come together," Marco resident Allyson Richards said. "Everybody needs to download, talk about what we've been through. It's important."
People stopped by all day Monday, the day after Irma's landfall, looking for food, said Kretch's co-owner Bruce Kretschmer.
"We told them we'd do what we could today," he said.
Kretschmer said Kretch's has generators but that damage to the restaurant made it impossible to allow the public inside, so they brought the food outside. By 3 p.m., they had grilled almost 300 burgers and expected to serve as many as 800 people by the end of the day, he said.
"We'll keep cooking until we run out of food," said CJ's chef Laura Owen.
CJ's co-owner Curt Koon, manning one of the grills Tuesday, said Kretschmer told him about his plans and Koon jumped on the bandwagon.
"We want to try to give back," Koon said.