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Pay It Forward: Reinventing the famous Sandbar Restaurant

Serving up the daily, senior special at The Sandbar Restaurant in Marsing.

The Sandbar has always been a restaurant, but now it's a lot more. Reopened as a non-profit, it’s now also a hub for senior services in Marsing and the surrounding county.

Those services include delivering Meals on Wheels twice a week.

Jana Badger is a Meals on Wheels volunteer, "Our seniors play a major role in our community, in our history, and we owe it to them.”

And the meals are only part of her responsibilities. “You're a friend, family, next of kin, you're their confidant, you're their support system,” Jana explained. “I'm not just there to give them food. I'm there to say, 'Hey, how's your day? How are you doing? What can I do for you?’ That's important.

"It's about being a part of the community. It's about making sure that the seniors that created this community are valued and appreciated and they're not forgotten," concluded Jana.

Once the restaurant staff has finished preparing meals for delivery, it’s time for the lunch crowd. Besides the typical menu offerings, The Sandbar also offers a senior special.

Sarah Asumendi-Civian is the front manager at the Sandbar, “We have our senior special that we run every day. Seniors can come in and eat that special and we just ask for a suggested donation of $5. And we have some seniors that can pay it and some that can't. And it doesn't matter, we just feed them anyway.

“After expenses, everything they make on the restaurant side is poured into the senior programs. We're 100% non-profit. So, your meal today is buying a senior's meal or paying for one of our Meals on Wheels recipients or paying for our transportation services,” said Sarah.

“The whole state is watching us to see how this thing works,” added Peter Smit, the Chairman of the Board of The Sandbar. “It's different than a normal senior center, I mean it's so much more.”

In a few weeks, Peter says their patio will be busy. It has great views of the Snake River, Lizard Butte and blossoming orchards and vineyards.

It is just one more draw for paying customers who’s dinner bills help The Sandbar to continue its mission to improve the lives of the seniors living in Marsing.

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