Sonora fed warming shelter and LEO

Adrienne Carver - Contributing reporter

In recent days, the area has been reminded that it is in fact, winter. Local schools were closed for frigid temperatures and everyone commented on the cold. Portsmouth’s Salvation Army opened its doors for their warming station as they have in recent years but this time things were a bit different. Tonya and Martin Miranda, owners of Sonora Mexican Grill gathered their team and decided to give back to the community.

Warming stations have been a part of Salvation Army’s mission for several years; they also work tirelessly to provide several scheduled meals for Scioto County residents. In the most recent coldfront, owners of Sonora Grill provided meals for the individuals who had come to take advantage of Salvation Army’s warming station.

“We look for opportunities to get involved and support the community.” commented Miranda. “We heard they were doing their warming station and dropped by to see if they needed anything”.

Miranda explained the volunteers at Salvation Army said that not many people brought food or anything for the evening. During the warming station stint, the restaurant provided meals for approximately four nights.

Salvation Army Captain Dan Simco said, “Not only were we able to provide a warm place to sleep, but a meal as well (because of the Sonora family’s generosity). “

When asked about their experience, Miranda only has positive things to say.

“Everyone was super excited. They were so happy and so grateful,” Miranda stated.

When describing the event she talked about the bond she began to form with some of the community members that visited the warming station and received meals “they started to make some suggestions, like you guys should bring tacos next time” — she said that they did what they could to please the people they were serving.

“They all smiled and were just so grateful,” she reflects.

Captain Dan commented on their generosity by saying “we all joked that participants were eating very well” but also added that the volunteers at salvation army were very grateful for the extra support. In addition to Sonora’s generosity, Simco also noted that several individuals dropped off food and clothes.

The Sonora team did not only provide meals; they also took time to fellowship with those they were serving.

Miranda commented, “It was nice to hear their stories, they all have their own”.

When asked about the effect the event had on her and her employees, she said, “Treating them like they’re somebody makes a difference in their lives but in our lives as well”.

Miranda even describes her plans to help a few participants find work. Miranda added that several of the employees were encouraged by their event and are eager for more opportunities to get involved.

Despite the obvious successes and benefits of this event, Simco reported that this was the first time something like this has happened since he became Captain in late June. When it occurred, Captain Dan said that their social media views were spreading with news of the event.

Owners of Sonora Mexican Grill were surprised to learn that they were the first local business to provide this generosity.

“Successful members of our community have the responsibility to help those who are less fortunate, and to contribute to the common good. Every little bit truly helps when it comes to good works,” she said.

In addition to donating to Salvation Army, Sonora often seems to be hosting events that benefit the community.

Recently, they observed law enforcement appreciation day by giving a free meal to personnel with a badge or uniform.

In coming weeks, Sanora Mexican Grill will host events for the local fire department as well as community networks that help with Autism.

“We were hoping other people would see this and participate” Miranda encouraged others to donate as well. “It’s a nice feeling to be able to serve and give back.”

When asked about continuation of this Simco commented “this coming weekend temperatures are expected to be frigid so we will probably be opening up again. If other business would like to donate a meal we would certainly be more than happy to provide it to the folks that take advantage of our warming station.”

Simco reported that community members will be informed of the warming station through social media and organizations associated with Salvation Army. Temperatures are forecasted to plummet again in the near future, giving Sonora and other local business a chance to exhibit more generosity.

Adrienne Carver

Contributing reporter