NewsPinellas County


2 Tampa Bay area restaurants feed more than 80 first responders for Thanksgiving

Posted at 5:40 PM, Nov 24, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-24 18:23:57-05

SAFETY HARBOR, Fla. — Giving usually makes us, “Happy,” Billie Wilson reads outlaid as she writes down a message on a to-go box.

For Rachel Wilson, owner of Gigglewaters, it’s contagious. Her daughter Billie is learning the importance of community service.

“I like to do things that are hyper-local and this is our community, these are our firefighters across the street, these are the paramedics that are down the street, these are the people who show up when we personally have emergencies,” said Wilson.

And for the second year in a row, the cooking duties have been split. Chris Wicks, owner of Daydreamers Cafe couldn’t be prouder.


“We’ve all been working hard but those folks have been working exceptionally hard,” said Wicks. “Not only maintaining the original work that they have but then when you put the issues and the needs of COVID on top of it, I can’t be more thankful to have these folks in our lives.”

They’re whipping together 70 meals for paramedics at Sunstar and another 10 split between two Safety harbor firehouses.

“It’s the basics, it’s the turkey, the stuffing, it’s cranberry sauce, gravy,” Wilson said.

The delicious staples that draw so many of us around a table the fourth Thursday in November. But, for many first responders, it’s not always possible.

We eat when we can, and usually it’s on the run. So when we do get something we really do appreciate it,” said Angel Rexach, a field training officer at Sunstar.

It means even more these past two years.

“It’s not been easy with COVID but we’ve been pushing through it and we just appreciate everything that was given and done for us as EMS and first responders in general,” said Joshua Daly, An Assistant Operations Supervisor at Sunstar.

Wilson says if you’d like to feed a first responder you can donate to the “feeding the front lines” program via Venmo @Gigglewaters. 100% of the proceeds go towards those meals and that program.