LAUDERHILL, FLA. (WSVN) - The owner of a longtime South Florida restaurant, who has been helping feed the community during the coronavirus pandemic, is now asking for the community’s help, as her business faces eviction.

Jerk Machine, a Lauderhill landmark, will mark 31 years at its current location on Wednesday.

“This Jerk Machine location is, I think, the heart and soul of our community, particularly for the Caribbean community,” said Lauderhill Commissioner Melissa Dunn.

Catherine Malcolm and her husband Desmond have given their life’s work to this business.

On Monday, Malcolm showed a 7News crew some of their more popular dishes.

“Starting with our rice and peas, curry goat, oxtail,” she said.

The business has seen good times and is the favorite of many celebrities, but COVID has decimated its sales over the past year.

Malcolm said many of their patrons are out of work and hurting.

“I’ve been, like, using up all my reserves and pulling for every single place that I can to stay open,” she said, “and I found that I am actually operating this business like a soup kitchen.”

Malcolm said her landlord has given her a three-day notice.

“It’s very scary to come to work every day, because I know that I have a wider community, that people rely on us,” she said as she held back tears. “We’re hurting.”

On Tuesday, an act of faith came to help keep the Jerk Machine’s doors open in the form of Pastor Dennis Grant.

“I got your information this morning, and I thought to myself, ‘What can I do?'” Grant told Malcolm.

The pastor has known the Malcolm family for decades, and when he heard the restaurant was on the brink of closing due to COVID-19, he began making calls.

“The restaurant has given $5,000; Edmund Restaurant, someone come to them; and Montegro Bay, someone come to them for money,” Grant said.

Other Caribbean restaurants stepped up to help Malcolm raise money to keep Jerk Machine running.

“I am touched and moved by what Doc has done and by what everyone is doing,” she said. “I’m a happy person today. Yesterday, I was not as happy as I am today. I’m very happy today.”

Malcolm is happy because her GoFundMe account is climbing. She’ll be able to pay her rent this month and have a little cushion.

When she asked Pastor Grant why he’s helping her, he said, “It’s a time of giving not just for Christmas but every day of the year is the time to give. I saved $1 bills, right? But all my $1 bills go into the jar, so I counted them this morning, and this is over $700.”

He handed over the extra dollar bills and coins he collects all year long.

“We just wanted to reach out and help them and hopefully other folks who are watching will also do something similar. Every dollar is important,” Grant said.

A GoFundMe Page has been started to help Malcolm keep Jerk Machine open. If you would like to make a donation, click here.

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