St. Charles deli customers pay for others so no one goes hungry


ST. CHARLES, Mo. – Fifty-nine receipts are hanging on a brick wall inside Ruma’s Deli in St. Charles. Each receipt represents a pre-paid meal that’s ready to be made for anyone in need.

A sign hanging on the wall next to the receipts inside Ruma’s Deli says, “If you are hungry or know someone who is hungry and has no money, these tickets have been paid in advance, grab a ticket & eat! God bless our community! Thank you to those that can.”

A Ruma’s Deli customer saw the idea online and asked the owner of Ruma’s Deli if he could start the chain reaction there.

“He said we should do this, I want to be the first person to donate,” Dana Bannister, owner of Ruma’s Deli, said. He paid for 10 meals and as more customers noticed it, it kept growing.

“From one kind act and then everyone pitched in, it’s pretty cool, it’s a good community here,” she said. “We had a lot of people calling in and donating it, our customers came in and had seen the wall and they donated as well.”

Bannister said anyone who needs a meal can come in, grab a ticket off the wall with whichever kind of meal they need, bring it to the register, and it will be made for them, thanks to customers who already paid for it.

On Tuesday afternoon, Tony Aiello donated $200 on behalf of Aiello Homes to pay for dozens of meals.

“Hats off to the gentleman that started this thing, we all need to participate in things like this due to the epidemic for some business, restaurant owners, and people in need,” Aiello said.

Bannister said without her customers there is no way they could have done all this; especially as small businesses continue to keep afloat during the pandemic.

Ruma’s Deli’s locations in St. Charles and Imperial are taking part in the giving wall. The owner said it’s available for anyone, or any family that needs it.

“Don’t be embarrassed, come on in, grab something, no judging here,” Bannister said.

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