GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — It was a happy surprise Monday for shoppers at Ralph’s Food Market in Grand Rapids as nearly a dozen patrons’ grocery bills were paid for in full thanks to the generosity of two local restaurateurs.

Jenna Arcidiacono, owner of Amore Trattoria Italiana, and Chris Andrus, co-owner of The Mitten Brewing Company, are not new to the local philanthropy game. Both restaurants have charity arms associated with them, which helps the two pay it forward in different ways.

“We were trying to think of something to do through the holidays that would be impactful,” Andrus said. “Being in the restaurant industry, we are both keenly aware how much more food costs. How much more everything cost these days. We knew that would obviously translate to the grocery stores and people buying food for the holidays.”

The paid bills were a surprise for grocery shoppers as Andrus and Arcidiacono covered $2,500 worth of food. The two not only wanted to help out the local community, but also ensure their generosity benefited locally owned businesses.

“We didn’t want to do this at a national chain, we wanted to make sure that the local market’s in our neighborhood,” he said.

Store Manager Maria Crvants told News 8 that they were happily surprised and honored to have been chosen. She echoed Andrus’s sentiments and added that many of their local customers are on tight budgets as is.

“Everything is really expensive,” she said. “The people were really happy about it.”

Andrus said the hour spent at Ralph’s was full of tears, smiles and plenty of hugs. The two owners plan on funding at least two more pop-up pay-it-forward events at local groceries in town. If you’d like to sponsor a part of one of these events, you can donate either to the Mitten Foundation, Inc. or Food Hugs, which are the two businesses’ respective charities.

“We are repurposing the money that our customers are generous enough to invest in us, by patronizing our restaurants and paying it forward,” Andrus said.