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story.lead_photo.caption Westside Eagle Observer/SUSAN HOLLAND Steve Martinez, proprietor of Hard Luck Cafe in Gravette, pauses to consult with his mother, Chris, as he leaves the kitchen with another pan of mashed potatoes to replenish the serving table. Martinez and his crew at the cafe served free Christmas dinner to all who wanted to drop by on Christmas Day.

GRAVETTE -- Steve Martinez and his employees at the Hard Luck Cafe did their best to bring Christmas cheer to everyone this holiday. They closed the cafe for regular business at 10:30 on Monday, Dec. 24, so they could operate a Christmas Eve Santa's Gift Shop. Hard Luck's message went out, inviting anyone who wished to stop by and pick up a gift.

"We know that Christmas can be a tough time and putting a gift under the tree may not be possible. We want to make Christmas magical for everyone and will have gifts for people of all ages," the invitation read.

Then on Tuesday, Christmas Day, the cafe was open for a free Christmas dinner for anyone who wanted to stop by and eat. The invitation was issued to those who lived alone, did not have a Christmas dinner planned or those "who just want to come and hang out with us at Hard Luck." Many accepted the invitation and the parking lot was full most of the time the meal was served from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Again that day every person who came in was able to choose a Christmas gift from a wide variety under the tree and on nearby tables.

The Martinez family didn't estimate how many people were served at the dinner, but more than 75 takeouts were prepared, some delivered directly to the diner's home, and a large crowd was served at the cafe. Family members and friends helped serve the meal and make deliveries. Steve's mother, Chris Martinez, was quick to point out that it was only because of the cooperation of many donors that the free dinner was possible. She said many individuals gave cash donations and unwrapped gifts or prepared food to help with the meal.

"We appreciate each and every one of you who has donated this year. It's because of your generosity that we're able to continue to give back so much to this fantastic community," Martinez said.

Community on 01/02/2019

Print Headline: Hard Luck brings Christmas blessings to many

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