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PALMER — Jay Demore, owner of Demore’s Automotive in Palmer, believes in supporting the community. This week, more than 300 people in Palmer will have Thanksgiving meals thanks to the efforts of Demore; his sister JoAnn, operations manager at the auto shop; and a few customers who have come to the shop with checks for as much as $200 and $300.

Demore, who has operated the auto-repair shop since 1997, will provide prepared meals from Palmer restaurants, 80 of which will go to elderly residents in town. For families that prefer to make Thanksgiving dinner, he’ll make sure they have a turkey and the ingredients for stuffing, side dishes, and desserts. Anyone in need was encouraged to message Demore privately through social media; customers and local residents who knew of a family in need reached out to let him know.

How does he decide who gets the meals? “I leave it to the good of the people to let me know who needs the help,” Demore said, noting that people have responded to posts on his business Facebook page as well as posts on local and town pages.

The plan to help began last Easter, as restaurants and families began to be affected financially by the pandemic. That’s when Demore began purchasing gift cards for Palmer restaurants and giving them to town residents in need.

Demore has taken his support of Palmer restaurants on the road with the Stand Out Truck, a mobile digital billboard. He purchased ads on the truck for his own business and, after seeing results, began purchasing ad space and sponsoring restaurants.

He is also offering to help any families in need at Christmas — and not just with meals. Demore and his sister have already purchased some big-ticket toys, such as a remote-control Jeep, which he says will be decked out with the Demore Automotive logo, as well as boys’ and girls’ bikes, a play kitchen, and a Nintendo Switch. “We’re even supplying wrapping paper,” he added.

A “Stuff the Cruiser” event will be held on Saturday, Dec. 5 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Palmer Town Hall/police station parking lot. The event supports Santa’s Elves of Palmer, which collects and distributes toys to families in the area. Demore said he would like to see a record number of cruisers stuffed this year. To help reach that goal, he will give a $10 gift card to a local restaurant to anyone who brings an unwrapped toy to his business. Toys can be for any age or gender. Demore will deliver the toys to the Dec. 5 event.