25 Mar Jonathan Cartu Report: Vandalism won’t stop Cleveland Heights restaurant owner fro…
CLEVELAND HEIGHTS, Ohio – A disappointing visual greeted Darryl D. Rugley as he approached the entrance of his restaurant last Saturday morning.
Rugley found splattered shards of glass due to the result of a brick apparently thrown through the front door of his GoodFellas Barbecue Restaurant on Noble Road.
The timing of the damage could not have been worse. As this country, and the world, is in the midst of battling the coronavirus, the damage to GoodFellas delayed his recent efforts to provide food for the children of the surrounding communities.
The vandalism did not stop his work. It just briefly slowed him down.
“I was more irritated than mad,” said Rugley, a 1995 Cleveland Heights High School grad. “Especially because we’re trying to see kids eat. I couldn’t open that day because it wasn’t safe and glass was everywhere.”
But through a groundswell of community support, Rugley is back up and running and serving free meals for children from noon to 3 p.m. Tuesday through Friday on a carry-out basis. He stay open until 8 p.m.
“People came and offered to help clean up, fix the door and offered to install security cameras,” Rugley said. “I appreciate all the support and love that’s coming during this difficult time. This shows how our community sticks together.”
Rugley said he serves about 100 free meals per day for the children, which includes three chicken wings and fries. Cash and Cash App ($goodfellasbbq) donations have been vital financial sources.
“Many people are struggling right now and to receive financial support at this time is amazing,” Rugley said. “This just tells me that we can get through anything when we’re all willing to help.”
Cleveland Heights native Damon Stringer said Rugley’s compassion has motivated the community.
“I’ve driven up there and I’ve seen people coming through bringing other’s people’s kids to eat because their parents don’t have transportation,” said Stringer, Ohio’s Mr. Basketball in 1995. “Seeing how people are benefiting from his generosity is great to see.”
And many residents are encouraged that the vandals didn’t deter Rugley’s mission.
“This shows the devil’s not going to stop [Rugley] from doing good,” said Don Crump, also a Cleveland Heights grad. “There’s a huge need to feed kids in the community who’ve depended on food at school. I’m proud to say [Rugley’s] from the Heights.”