The Congdon’s Giving Tree will continue this season, despite the pandemic closing the dining room to guests.
For more than two decades, Congdon’s Doughnuts & Family Restaurant in Wells has been offering guests a free doughnut if they contribute an item to the Giving Tree. Over the years, guests have donated thousands of toys, baby/toddler clothes, and diapers to York County families in need during the holiday season.
In 2020, guests will be asked to drop off items at the Congdon’s drive-thru or takeout window, beginning on Black Friday. Each guest that brings an item between now and December 20th gets a free doughnut.“It’s a little different, but that’s 2020 for you,” said Congdon’s owner Gary Leech. “This is an important part of what we do. Our staff loves it, our guests love it, we love it, and the organizations really appreciate it.”
Out of an abundance of caution, Congdon’s dining room and lobby has been closed to guests since the outset of the pandemic in March. During that time, more than 80,000 cars vehicles have made their way through the Congdon’s drive-thru.
To continue to meet the drive-thru demand, Congdon’s recently upgraded its system by adding a digital board. The menu also expanded beyond doughnuts and breakfast sandwiches to include breakfast burritos, lobster benedict breakfast bowl, Congdon’s famous corned beef hash, and alcoholic beverages like mimosas and bloody marys.
“This year has been all about adapting. I hand it to our amazing staff because we’ve been able to stay open to continue to serve guests and be a resource for the community,” said Leech. “The need is great now, but so is the generosity of the community.”
During the early days of the pandemic, Congdon’s became a depot for people in need of toilet paper, which was often missing from store shelves. Guests who had rolls to spare donated them, and those in need picked them up at the Congdon’s drive-thru.
Congdon’s also recently partnered with Wells Junior High School students to distribute more than 380 free turkey dinners to senior citizens via the drive-thru.
“We are beyond blessed to have been part of this community since 1955,” said Leech. “Anything we can do to help people get through this difficult time, we’re happy to do.”
Congdon’s is located at 1090 Post Road in Wells, Maine. Winter hours are Thur-Sun, 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. (closed Thanksgiving Day).