ELKHART — Cedric Rollins, the owner of That Guy’s Gourmet Ribs in Elkhart, had some time on his hands when his catering business was hit by a state order limiting the size of gatherings in an effort to stem the spread of coronavirus.

In addition to all of his customers cancelling events related to the coronavirus outbreak, Rollins knew many of his friends and neighbors would be out of work and might be looking for a good meal.

So he arranged to fire up his 1,300-pound smoker in the parking lot of Wellfield Botanic Gardens, 1011 N. Main St., with the blessing of that organization.

The giveaway, supported initially by Rollins and followed by a wave of generosity from the community, is from 4 to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. He hopes it can continue through mid-April.

Various business that heard of Rollins’ plan offered to donate, he said Thursday.

“Things just have a way of working out,” he said.

For example, earlier this week he had to purchase a three-day permit from the Health Department to serve the food to the public. It cost $55. Then he went to Sam’s Club to purchase charcoal for the event and received a $50 gift certificate.

Bullard’s Farm Market donated 300 chocolate chip cookies, he said. Various bakeries have donated buns. More than 600 people shared his original post on Facebook about the giveaway, according to Rollins.

“It’s somewhat overwhelming,” he said.

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