Erin Barnicle, co-owner of the Tempo Bistro restaurant in Waltham, Mass., says her business would not have survived the months during the COVID-19 pandemic without the support of her community.
“We’ve always found ways to give back, but after 2020, we dedicated ourselves in any way we could to help,” says Erin. “When we find a cause near and dear to our hearts, we don’t just support it. We talk about it, we share it on our social media, and we find people who also want to be involved in it.”
Since 2022, Tempo Bistro has worked with The Salvation Army in Waltham, located only a few blocks away from the restaurant. Donations from Tempo to The Salvation Army have been matched by other local organizations, and during the Christmas season, the Angel Tree gets a boost of shoppers thanks to Erin.
“Last year, Erin and her team at Tempo took on over 100 angels from our corps. This year, she’s topped that with 375 angels,” says Lieutenant Nicole Fullop, corps officer at Waltham. “To know that her and this community want to help us is so heartfelt.”
Tempo Bistro’s staff, their families, and customers all collected Angel Trees from Waltham. Even some who had never eaten at Tempo visited it for the first time, because they had heard about the partnership with The Salvation Army and wanted to be involved.
“We live in a community that really wants to help people. And the children helped by The Salvation Army’s Angel Tree are from our own community. They’re our neighbors’ children, and for us business owners, they’re our own employees’ children,” says Erin.
Even those community children want to help other children too. Erin recalls receiving an email saying that local kids’ hockey clubs were also getting involved in the Angel Tree.
“One took 20 tags and all went shopping together as a team. Another one did a ‘lap-a-thon’: They collected money from friends and families for each lap they skated around their hockey rink. The money they raised went to buy more toys for the Angel Tree,” says Erin.
“Every city has people who want to be involved, but don’t always know how or where to start. They might be nervous or shy to take that first step. So when you openly share what you want to do to help others, you’ll be surprised to see the number of people step up to help because of you,” says Erin. “It just takes one person to flip that switch and watch it happen.”
For more information on Tempo Bistro, visit tempobistro.com