On Nov. 28, the Old Time Country Kitchen closed after a propane explosion leveled the main kitchen.
Since that time, 20 employees have been out of the job, and the timing before Christmas hit many families, who live check to check, hard.
"It was sad," waitress Bridgette Robinson said. "I was used to the extra income, and right here at Christmas time it put a damper on things. We are all definitely ready to get back to work, on top of the economy being bad as it is, it was rough for them."
Robinson said some of the single moms who work at the restaurant were hit the hardest.
"There were 20 employees out of work so we divided up some money in gift cards for them," Pastor Jason Hatchett said.
He has been the pastor at the Tallapoosa First Baptist Church for five years.
"We just heard there was a need and wanted to help," Hatchett said. "We gave extra gift cards to some of the families with children.
"To see their (church members) desire to do that kind of thing is humbling," Hatchett said. "We have been blessed by a gentleman, who wouldn't want me to use his name, but he gives money so we can give this way, and he has given us a substantial amount of money for that purpose. So, we are able to do that and it is great to see our people say, 'here is someone who needs something, what can we do for them' it is very encouraging."
The restaurant employees said the gesture around the holidays from the church to help out went a long way.
"I did use mine on groceries, it did help out," Robinson said. "They sent everybody gift cards and were willing to help anyway we needed, I say ‘thank you' to them, 'thank you.'"
The kitchen annex where the explosion took place is still under repair. Robinson estimates they will be at full staff once it's finished in about a week.
Copyright 2012 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
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