10-year-old makes food for first responders

CASCADE TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — The daughter of a Grand Rapids-area restaurant owner has decided to use some of her free time during the coronavirus pandemic to make sure first responders know they’re appreciated.

“I have been cooking pizzas for the first responders, but we’ve also been making chicken tenders, burgers, southwest mac and cheese,” said 10-year-old Madison Waterman.

Madison’s dad, Dan Waterman, owns Gippers Bar and Restaurant in Cascade Township. Like many others, it’s now closed due to COVID-19 concerns, but Madison and her father decided the empty kitchen could still be used to make a difference.

“All of the first responders are kind of helping us, so I wanted to help and give back to them,” said Madison Waterman.

“She came in the other day, and she started cooking and being part of everything, so I was just so proud to see her back there really jumping in and wanting to help out,” said Dan Waterman.

Madison has been delivering the food to the Cascade Township Fire Department and Kent County Sheriff’s Office. She says that is her favorite part of the entire day.

“They’re very thankful, and they’re happy. I like to see them happy,” said Madison Waterman.

“We’re trying to do what we can to try to help out the community,” said Dan Waterman. “I know it’s hard times for everybody. We have a lot of friends who are first responders and we really appreciate them.”

An online virtual tip jar has been set up to help restaurant workers across West Michigan who are affected by the pandemic.