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DeLandite Richard Hewitt just wanted his neighbors to have a happy Easter.

All 200-plus neighbors.

Hewitt is a resident of The Oaks, a 55-and-over manufactured-home community on DeLand’s east side. He knew his neighbors had been mostly isolated in their homes for weeks, doing their part to stop the spread of COVID-19 in West Volusia.

Retired from the aerospace industry and a magician on the side, Hewitt wanted to create a little neighborly magic.

He enlisted the team at Brian’s B-B-Que Restaurant & Catering, and purchased 4 pounds of baked ham for every household in The Oaks — a little more than 200 households.

The project involved almost 1,000 pounds of ham, restaurant owner Brian Hill said, and a whole lot of carving time and talent on the part of his team at Brian’s Bar-B-Que.

“We’re here because of Richard’s generosity,” Hill said.

Hill and three staff members from Brian’s set up in the parking lot of The Oaks clubhouse April 11, and helped Hewitt distribute the bounty.

“Right now, everyone is closed up. All my poor neighbors, they’re like prisoners here,” Hewitt said. “I wanted them all to be happy for Easter.”

From comments made by his neighbors at the pickup point, it seemed Hewitt accomplished his mission. Expressions of gratitude abounded, and neighbors seemed to enjoy getting out in the fresh air, if only to quickly pick up a gift from a generous neighbor — while keeping a safe distance.

If our story has made you hungry, Hill advised that Brian’s Bar-B-Que is open 11 a.m.-8 .m. daily for take-out orders, and has taken the extra step of training its staff to earn certification from the National Restaurant Association for Covid-19 safe take-out — one of the first restaurants in the nation to do so, he said. Call Brian’s at 386-736-8851.

To see menus and ordering instructions from other local restaurants offering take-out, visit The Beacon’s new restaurant website, Volusia Eatabout, at http://menus.beacononlinenews.com/. Check back often; more menus are being added all the time.

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