When a sudden death left Server Karen Cooper’s daughter a widow and Karen’s young grandson without a father, her LongHorn Steakhouse team rallied to help the family through its darkest days.
Karen said she was “totally floored” when Deanna Lance, also a server at the LongHorn Steakhouse in Thomasville, GA, and other team members raised $2,400 to help pay for Karen’s son-in-law’s funeral after he died in his sleep.
Darden Dimes then provided a $500 matching grant. “I’m so grateful to the people I work with and to Darden Dimes,” Karen said of our emergency assistance fund for employees.
Deanna said the death “crushed my heart,” so she organized a barbecue in Thomasville and began selling $9 raffle tickets around the community for barbecued chicken plates with beans, salad and a cookie. “The LongHorn team jumped in to help me,” she said. Deanna’s husband and mother, who aren’t LongHorn Steakhouse employees, did the cooking for the off-site event.
‘I’m so grateful to the people I work with and to Darden Dimes.’
“We bought 150 pounds of boneless chicken breasts, and my husband tenderized and marinated it all and stood over that grill and cooked it all day long,” Deanna said. Her mother baked and frosted 300 sugar cookies. Deanna said she didn’t think twice about rolling up her sleeves to help. “Karen is like our mom. If we need her, she’s there. She would do the same thing for us if we needed it. She’s that person who will give you the last dollar in her wallet.”
To show their gratitude, Karen and her grandson presented Deanna with an angel pendant “because she was an angel to us.” Karen said she appreciated Darden Dimes, too. The employee-funded program helped employees and their families with more than 3,500 grants totaling $1.6 million in 2015.
“I’ve been a contributor since Day One,” Karen said.