By Ted Scouten

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PARKLAND (CBSMiami) — As kids ran for their lives when a gunman opened fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas, the impact was felt far beyond the school.

“We had seven employees there,” said Kevin O’Connor from Runyon’s Restaurant. “Waiting to hear from those kids and parents to find out if those kids were safe was excruciating.”

O’Connor and his wife Ryan own the restaurant.  They joined forces with local restaurants in town and got to work.

“Do what we do best,” said Kenny Rodriguez from Tavolino’s Restaurant,”feed the people, feed the community, volunteers, family members, whoever was involved, whoever hit close to home. We wanted to be involved with them.”

Tavolino’s joined in and the effort grew quickly.

“(We) started with five other restaurants. Soon my effort quickly grew to 12 and we’ve been feeding the family and friends of victims and the injured at the hospitals, churches, at their homes,” said O’Connor.

The restaurants include Runyon’s, Tavolino’s, Wings Plus, Red Ginger, Sicilian Oven, Bru’s Room, SoHo Subs, Bagels and a Whole Lot More, Dyan Country Kitchen, Egg & I Diner, Pasquale’s, Pepperoni Grill and Coconut Creek Casino.

So far, they’ve served more than 4000 meals.

When you’re talking about food, it provides more than just nourishment to families and people who have lost so much.

“Through these tragedies, food really helps people heal,” O’Connor said.  “It brings families and friends together to talk, to cry, to laugh and it’s truly a healing process they go through and we’re just happy to be a part of it.”

The chef at Tavalino’s made a personal delivery, bringing 3,000 cookies to Stoneman Douglas.

“We made it with a lot of love,” said Chef Bruno Silva, “we put a lot of hours of work and passion into the cookies for them.  I’m sure they appreciated it and I appreciated doing it for them.”

At 7-11 the Addesso’s and Anwar’s own stores in Coral Springs and Fort Lauderdale.

“I can’t sit back and just do nothing,” said Rachel Addesso.

This hit really close for both families.  Their children go to school there.

“My daughter was on the same floor when the shooting happened on the third floor,” said Zahid Anwar.”She’s still trying to recover from the incident.”

Aside from donating water and snacks, they have charity boxes out and a GoFundMe page.  They’re raising money to help replace the building where it happened with a memorial. They plan to have collection boxes in all South Florida 7-11’s soon.

So far, the two stores have raised more than $5,000.



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