A Jacksonville restaurant is providing a hand up for someone who is in need of a meal.

My Buddy’s BBQ & Catering has a Pay It Forward wall. The wall contains gifted meals and gift cards from patrons to individuals who may need a little help paying their bill or who may not have enough money to even buy a meal.

Owner Buddy Fore says he was inspired to provide the ability to pay it forward not only because he has been in that position a few times but because of an incident at one of his jobs several years ago: “It kind of goes back to something that happened almost 15 years ago that sparked this. When I was younger, I worked at Kottage Kafe and there was a guy walking cross country. I can’t remember what it was for. I was just a cook at this restaurant and he stopped in on his way out of town. We were the last stop and he wanted to see if anyone would donate a meal. The boss wasn’t there so I couldn’t ask. Everybody was coming to me and asking me about it. I didn’t want to give him a free meal. I couldn’t make a quick decision at the time, but I should have just bought the guy a meal. I had the money. For some reason, that has always stuck on my conscience and it always has been that I never got that guy a meal. Ever since that day, I have said to myself that I will never reject anyone from a meal ever again.”

Fore says people who have used meals off the wall have come back in and purchased one for someone else when they had the money. He says that he’s also offered at least one person a job based upon the meal wall in the hopes that he could help that person to get back on their feet.

Fore says by paying it forward it also teaches children that there is always room to donate a meal to someone in need. Fore says if you would like to donate to the program, simply let them know at the register when you pay for your own food. And, if you need a meal, simply pull a gift card or the meal off the wall, and bring it to the register no questions asked.

My Buddy’s BBQ & Catering is located at 733 East College Avenue in Jacksonville.