MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Crab Shack Caribba has capped the number of free lunches they provide to students, who cannot receive them from school since they are closed due to COVID-19 fears, every day to 100 meals.

Bron Kayal, the owner, said they started offering free lunches on Monday, March 16 and served around 45 people but then they received calls from hundreds of families wanting the service every day. That is unfeasible for the restaurant, Kayal said, especially now that they have laid off all 60 of their staff and it’s just him cooking in the back and his wife taking orders in the front.

Now they’re serving 100 meals a day and limiting it to three meals per family. They would like to help as many families as possible, Kayal said, but they are still running their regular business. However, he said that they are receiving support from the community.

“A lot of people are reaching out to us and the community has shown an overwhelming support,” Kayal said. “For example West Virginia Junior College, they stepped up yesterday and gave us a check. They were going to sponsor the cost of food next week. We’re still going to prepare the food and everything but they’re sponsoring the food for the kids next week.”

Kayal said the restaurant has received some calls from other people who want to give a helping hand.

“Thank you to everybody for supporting us, for everybody coming together,” Kayal said.

Wednesday, March 18, was the first day that he and his wife ran the business by themselves. He said they did get some orders, people seemed like they were supporting the business and it was not bad, all things considered. Kayal said he they weren’t tremendously busy but, regardless, are thankful for the orders they did receive.

Like many restaurants nationwide, Crab Shack Caribba is closed to in-person business but they are still taking orders for curbside and pick up in order to limit the spread of COVID-19.

Kayal said the problem of COVID-19 is serious and precautionary measures have to be taken.

“I think things are serious when the people that are making decisions doctors, the president, they have a lot better information than we do,” Kayal said. “I understand they have no vaccine for this virus so this should be the only way to ‘flatten the curve’ so to speak so I understand. We’re here, trying to do our best to stand by the community and try to do the best that we can.”

Kayal explained that the virus has affected his business in many ways including having to temporarily close their second location in the Cheat Lake area.

“We were supposed to do our grand opening on Tuesday but obviously because of everything that’s going on we had to put that on hold and we couldn’t open it,” Kayal said.