‘Keep the change’: Group gifts struggling cafe over $3K

Local

Carol's Corner Cafe had a big surprise in store on Friday

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Carol’s Corner Cafe is a renowned restaurant, voted at one time to have the best breakfast in Clark County — but the hard times brought about by the pandemic have not spared even them. 

Carol’s Corner has struggled to stay open, so an informal group of people in the community pitched in and gave an early Christmas present to the people at Carol’s. Keep the Change is the name of the group and it is just their second year doing this. They do what their name implies — and in this case, the 25 cinnamon rolls order they made will be one the restaurant won’t soon forget. 

Keep the Change raised $3,100 dollars among their small group of girlfriends to help the struggling Clark County landmark remain open. Last Friday, the Keep the Change women came through the door to pick up their order — and left all the money with Carol’s daughter and the restaurant workers.

“You guys are going to make me cry. I do not want to cry,” Shannon Holliday said.

It is a bit of hope in what has otherwise been a pretty grim season for restaurants. Carol’s daughter Shannon Holliday had no idea how much money was in the envelope. She says it’ll go directly to employees who’ve helped make the place what it is. 

“It fills our hearts, it really does. It fills mine,” she said. “It’s absolutely fantastic to be able to have something like this happen and be able to share it with our staff — because my staff is my family. This is helping my family and it’s too much — I’m getting ready to cry again.”

The celebration was joined by another Clark County icon — Curley the Camel — whose owner Jeff stopped by as the two of them were on their way to a real-life nativity scene. Nothing like celebrating a windfall with an animal that also has a pretty sharp survival instinct. 

This is the second year the Keep the Change women have done what they’re doing. It is a way for them to do a little bit more than just pay the bill — a gesture, a way to say thank you to a place that is still here doing its best — fighting it out with the tough times we are all living through. 

“You know they’re working hard and we know that everybody is trying to keep small business alive, so just shopping and ordering take-out alone is a great push,” Kelsey Chappelle with Keep The Change said. “But if we can do a little extra during the holiday season, we’re happy to do that.”

In a religious sense, it isn’t Good Friday — but for the people who’ve had to really buckle down during the pandemic at Carol’s Corner Cafe, it’s a Friday that’s good enough — and even better than expected thanks to the generosity of these girlfriends whose motto is “keep the change.”

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