Gabby White has a mission.
The 11-year-old Wilmette resident not only wants to see local restaurants in her community survive during the pandemic, she also wants to see them thrive.
Her recently launched campaign, “Wilmette Orders Out,” is encouraging locals to commit to ordering out once per week.
The idea was sparked when a school project required White to organize a service-oriented activity. She immediately devised a plan to help local businesses stay in the game, which also benefits the community at large.
“Everyone has been hit so hard during this pandemic,” White said. “We need to support our own communities and local businesses so that they still exist once we get through this time. Restaurants bring families and friends together. They are a place to celebrate.
“In Wilmette, there are so many great restaurants who also employee other residents. I don’t want to see businesses go under or people lose their jobs. There is something we can all do about it.”
With the wheels in motion, White established a full-fledged website that includes a handy restaurant guide. Over the past several weeks, White has also handed out flyers and spread the word on Facebook and Instagram.
For Julie Yusim, executive director of the Wilmette-Chamber of Commerce, White’s campaign is one that makes her heart melt.
“I think Gabby is an extraordinary young woman,” Yusim said. “The compassion, resolve and expertise that enable her to do something to help the community in this way is remarkable. She is obviously very special.
“Additionally, I believe residents will respond to a personal plea from a young person like Gabby, in a way they might not from a Chamber or other entity.”
Yusim further explained that when restaurant owners heard about the campaign, they were extremely grateful.
Local restaurants are relying mainly on carryout and catering to stay afloat, while managing outgoing expenses like rent and other operating costs.
“This is why they need many more times the carryout business to survive this pandemic and precisely why an effort like Gabby’s can be so helpful.” Yusim added.
Ann Garrison, of the Noodle Restaurant and Depot Nuevo, couldn’t agree more with Yusim’s sentiments.
“For a person so young to embrace compassion, empathy and concern for the community is extraordinary,” she said. “We are very thankful that Gabby included us in her campaign.”
White encourages all folks to consider “taking the pledge” on her website www.wilmetteordersout.com/about and commit to the cause.
Restaurant owners who would like to be listed can also visit White’s site for more information.