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Businesses reach out to help

It’s a time when many feel the call to help others in need. It’s one of the special features of the holiday season.

At least a couple of businesses have taken extra measures to help others this year, going way above and beyond the norm.

Classic of Denton Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram Mazda and Sweetwater Grill & Tavern are two strong examples of the sense of community many have come to feel in Denton.

John and Donna Marsh and at least another 100 families are beneficiaries of Classic’s benevolence. The families received assistance after being referred to the dealership by Cross Timbers Community Church, St. Mark Catholic Church, Immaculate Conception Catholic Church or Denton County Friends of the Family.

The Marsh family received a 2004 Mazda MVP van that is wheelchair-accessible after Rick Wick heard the couple’s 1999 Chevy van could only go about 10 miles per hour and drive no longer than a mile.

“I traded keys with them,” said Wick, who works as Classic Mazda general sales manager. “John said he hadn’t been out of the apartment but about six times this whole year because of it.”

John Marsh, who suffers with diabetes, has undergone several amputations, which require him to use a wheelchair. His wife, who works at a local retail store across town, would be delayed — sometimes two hours — in getting home due to the older vehicle’s mechanical issues.

Today, the couple has reliable transportation and many families were able to enjoy their holiday thanks to Classic of Denton.

Just a couple of blocks south of the Square, Sweetwater Grill & Tavern staff donned Santa hats and threw open the doors of the longtime eatery to welcome more than 300 people for a holiday meal of turkey, ham, vegetables and even an assortment of pies.

Wednesday’s free meal marked the second year owners Karen and Jimmy Meredith planned a community Christmas Day gathering for anyone to drop by and enjoy — whether they were alone and without family nearby or hungry and in need of food or just wanted to be part of a festive atmosphere.

And instead of spending the holidays at home with the family, the couple brings the family into the restaurant’s holiday event.

“We still have our Christmas, but now we finish our Christmas here and celebrate with the community and that makes me happy,” Karen Meredith said.

The restaurant also provided holiday assistance to families in need and collected donated coats to give away to anyone who wanted one.

The generous benevolence of these businesses is but a fraction of that offered to help others in Denton during the holidays.

But they stand out for their willingness to go the extra step — no matter the cost or inconvenience to themselves — in an effort to spread holiday cheer.

They serve as sterling examples of the spirit of Christmas in Denton — giving both money and time and expecting nothing in return.

So, the next time you see any of the owners and employees of these two businesses around town, take a minute to tell them, “Thank you.”