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Tamales, gift cards and neighborly love: How North Texans are helping each other

In Oak Cliff, restaurant owners and staff have turned to tamales to support out-of-work service industry men and women.

Over the last two weeks, people have been brainstorming ways to help and support their neighbors. The ideas for help have been creative, eclectic and singularly Texan. 

In Oak Cliff, restaurant owners and staff have turned to tamales to support out-of-work service industry men and women. 

John Hernandez owns Casa Masa, a homemade tamale pop-up, and he and Chef Matt Balke, formerly of Bolsa, and Corey McCombs of Revelers Hall and Oddfellows, banded together to provide tamales to customers as well as support other hospitality colleagues who may be out of work. 

"Tamales are perfect right now because you can eat them tonight or freeze them for later when it may be tough to find what you want at the store," Hernandez said. 

Monday afternoon the trio will be selling hundreds of dozens of tamales at a drive-thru at the former Bolsa location's parking lot. They're charging $25 a dozen and are donating all tips to funds that will help serviced industry men and women supplement their bills. 

Pre-orders are encouraged and you can find more information on how to order and pay here: 

Causes event by CASA MASA on Monday, March 23 2020 with 180 people interested and 54 people going.

"We're designing it as a drive-thru where you don't have to touch anything, but you can get some delicious food and help your neighbors in need," Hernandez said. 

The hospitality industry has been hit especially hard with the temporary closure of bars and sit-down dining so Hernandez, Balke and McCombs say this is their way to give back and to let customers give back too. 

"They can choose to tip and show that support as well. It's about empowering each other," Hernandez said. 

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Helping others 

Other North Texans are showing support to local business and first responders through gift cards. Over the weekend an anonymous donor bought $1,000 worth of gift cards at Norma's Cafe in Oak Cliff and instructed cafe staff to give the gift cards to first responders who continue to work on the front lines. 

Gift cards are an excellent way to support because it gives money to local business and can then be donated to non-profits or people in need. 

Congregants at Lake Pointe Church in Rockwall spent last week collecting food for children who previously depended on school lunches. 

Countless churches and places of worship have done the same across North Texas and will continue to do so. 

As "shelter in place" policies develop the need will remain and people are encouraged to call churches or food banks first to see what the best way to help is. 

And then there are the thousands of folks who have checked in on an elderly neighbor or prayed for the doctors committed to healing the sick. 

Whether it's tamales, gift cards or prayer, North Texans are showing everything really is bigger in their state, especially the heart. 

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