WESTFIELD, New Jersey -- Like many local businesses across the country, Vicki's Diner, in Westfield, New Jersey, has struggled to make ends meet as a result of the pandemic.
But the love for this family-owned business inspired Patricia Steckler, a customer of Vicki's Diner, to rally her community together to save this community staple.
"I asked Helen how things were and she said not good. They had depleted all their savings to keep every staff member employed. That weekend I figured out how to start a GoFundMe and it just took off," said Steckler.
The initial goal to raise $25,000 was surpassed within days, with almost 400 donors donating over $35,000.
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"She saved us. We were so close to bankruptcy. We ran out of money to pay our purveyors and how much money can you borrow from even your own pockets?" said Helen Rentoulis, owner of Vicki's Diner.
Helen and her husband Peter couldn't believe the act of kindness and how the community came together to save their family business, which has served the Westfield community for more than 20 years.
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"It's just impressive and a heavy load to carry knowing that so many people care about you," said Rentoulis.
And as for Steckler, who organized the fundraiser, she hopes that more communities around the country can be inspired to come together for a good cause and common purpose.
"It has been one of the most joyful things for me to do, it's just love!" said Steckler.
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