AVON – Minnesota’s stay at home order to fight COVID-19 has been extended, and area residents continue finding ways to help one another.

Florida resident Linda Miller says her daughter, Lisa Pelkey, is a vibrant example of someone going above and beyond to boost others during the pandemic.

Pelkey, along with co-owner Annette Petermeier, runs the Gathering Grounds Coffee Shop, located in Avon. The coffee house, like many other businesses, is weathering the state shutdown by offering curbside coffee pickup.

“(Customers) call ahead, they get a number, and park in that space in the parking lot,” Miller explained. “Then Lisa runs out, gloved and masked, and gets their coffee to them.”

Miller says each customer has the opportunity to ‘pay it forward’ by chipping a few dollars into a special rolling coffee fund benefiting front-line workers.

“A customer can donate a couple bucks to give a first responder or medical professional a free cup,” Miller explained. “They donate the money, and when that person comes to the shop, they get a free coffee.”

The Gathering Grounds has been open fewer hours each day during the pandemic, but Miller says the local community has continued to show a great deal of support.

“It’s very important to people,” Miller said. “They’re still coming for their coffee. They have their regulars that just love the shop. They don’t want it to go away. It’s on the corner, and people want it to stay on that corner.”

Miller says Gathering Grounds customers are supporting other small, local businesses; the shop sources supplies like coffee beans and baked goods locally. The shop also has a lengthy history as a gallery space for local artists to display and sell work. Miller says Pelkey and Petermeier are motivated by a shared desire to boost spirits – pandemic or not.

“Honestly, they’re not in it for the money,” Miller said. “They’re there to offer encouragement, and light, and hope, to everyone. That’s what it’s truly about.”

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