Brownstown native supports hometown with food donations

As a coach, Josh Brewer said he often asks local businesses to support his team.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, he said it’s his turn to support them because all businesses have been impacted.

He recently did that in Athens, Georgia, where he now lives and serves as the head women’s golf coach at the University of Georgia.

Then he thought about his hometown of Brownstown and decided to help there, too.

“My plan was to reach out to local businesses and ask how I could help,” the 1994 Brownstown Central High School graduate said. “After talking with a few of them, we devised the plan that I would spend a set dollar amount on food (another amount on tip) and then they would provide as many meals as possible. I am not sure how many people this is helping, definitely not enough, but I guess every little bit helps.”

His plan has been to support a local business once a week until the states are fully open and businesses are granted permission to reopen.

“I hope the number of times I do this in the future is limited, as that means we are all back to worrying about something other than a virus,” Brewer said.

Brewer initially started the project in Athens since he said the community has been very good to him since becoming the golf coach in June 2012.

That extended to Brownstown when he heard about a popular bar and restaurant that’s a part of Indiana University lore and tradition in Bloomington, Nick’s, was struggling to stay open.

“It is almost a right of passage for any Indiana student,” said Brewer, a 1998 IU graduate. “When I coached at Indiana, I became close to the owners and employees. They actually have my golf bag in the upstairs part of their restaurant. Not having Nick’s still in business would almost feel like IU not having a basketball team.”

His father, Boyd Brewer, has been a longtime statistician for the Brownstown Central High School boys basketball team, and Boyd contacted junior varsity coach Marty Young about Josh wanting to buy food for local families.

The first batch of food locally was purchased from Nick’s.

“I have heard of other individuals trying to support their local communities by purchasing takeout,” Josh said. “I decided to put my own twist on it by purchasing a set dollar amount of food and then providing it to first responders or people in need. I just want these restaurants to still be in business when we come out on the other side defeating COVID-19.”

He also wanted to support his hometown.

“Brownstown has done more for me than I ever could, and I just want to say, ‘Thank you for always being there for me and my family,’” Josh said.

With Young also being the dean of students and athletic director at Brownstown Central Middle School, he knew which families could benefit from warm meals.

“I was also fortunate to join Boyd in delivering the meals to homes, so I witnessed the joy and appreciation the families had,” Young said.

He appreciates Josh’s thoughtfulness.

“Josh is part of a great family here in Brownstown,” Young said. “It did not surprise me that he would do this kind gesture to help people in the community. Josh has always been one to remember where he has come from. Josh was able to support a business and numerous families during this pandemic. I hope that others can find themselves this generous.”

For those receiving the food, Josh said he hopes it gives them a chance to enjoy a good meal during this trying time.

“My only hope is that it brings a smile to their face and maybe a chance to enjoy a meal without the stress of knowing where it might come from,” he said. “For the first responders, I just hope it provides enjoyment during the stressful times they have been facing.”

He encourages others to think of ways to support their community during the pandemic.

“Almost all of us have been supported by a local business in some capacity. Think back to the name on your Little League jersey, the sponsors on your scorecard or walking into a company and asking them to purchase Girl Scout cookies or ads in your program,” Josh said.

“I am not asking anyone to give something they do not have,” he said. “Simply give or help if you are fortunate enough to assist. Remember, you want the local pizza place, beauty salon or ice cream shop in business when your state reopens. If you can, then do something today to make sure your favorite slice of pizza and cold beer is still there for you when you are not mandated to shelter in place.”

To people in his home county, Josh said to stay safe and healthy.

“We are going to beat COVID-19. Unfortunately, we are going to lose some great Americans and people along the way,” he said. “However, remember it is just as easy to be optimistic as pessimistic, so use your energy correctly.”