PROVIDENCE, RI (WJAR) — Some restaurant owners in downtown Providence and a local law firm have rallied together to help feed members of the Rhode Island National Guard.
This comes as testing ramps up in the Ocean State where members of the National Guard are hard at work at the Convention Center.
"We have been seeing our numbers increase as far as testing," said Staff Sgt. Christopher Perez. "We've had a lot of changes moving to the new site."
In recent weeks, the National Guard has had a lot more responsibility put on their plate compared to other summer months.
It's something that hasn't gone unnoticed by some Providence businesses.
"They all got centralized into the Convention Center this past week. We thought, 'What would be the best way to get all of them a nice little welcome home gift is a taste of Providence'," said Daniel Willis, the marketing director of Yolenis and president of the Downtown Hospitality Group.
A taste, literally.
This week, some businesses that are part of Downtown Hospitality Group rallied together to feed the troops.
"When the guys are working, and they're working hard, it's just something to look forward to," said Perez. "It's not something they expect but definitely appreciate."
Murphy's, Yolenis, Kwench Juice Café, and Providence Coal Fired Pizza are providing lunch this week.
"Just to showcase to the National Guard members, 'Hey listen, Providence has your back'," said Willis.
Local attorney Rob Levine pitched in on $1,000 to help with the cause.
"I think it's important to support the troops. I think they're doing an amazing job taking care of our community, our state and the people that live here and I think they need to be remembered and we need to be here for them and support them," said Levine. "As a former member of the Rhode Island National Guard, and someone who's dedicated their life to the community, I was happy to give back, come down, and make a donation and join in."
The men and women said they can feel the love while they're carrying out their COVID duties.
"It's a good gesture it's showing us, 'Hey, we know you're there, we appreciate you doing this,' said Perez. "And we get the cars that come in for testing, we get a lot of thank yous and appreciation from them as well."