LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — The restaurant industry has been one of the hardest hit during the coronavirus pandemic. Now, an act of kindness by someone facing challenges of their own has has given many local restaurants newfound hope.

Dillon Garcia manages The Pizzeria in the Heights neighborhood of Little Rock. It's one of many local restaurants feeling the strain of the day-to-day trying to make ends meet.

"We're just doing whatever we can to continue cash flow for the business and to employ all of our staff as well," said Garcia.

Garcia said they saw a post on social media offering free food photography for local restaurants. The post was by Dero Stanford, a professional photographer in Little Rock with unique experience in food photography.

"My industry has come to a complete halt in this crisis," he said. "I saw restaurants are hurting and thought I have a skill so I might as well use that skill to help restaurants in the area."

A big foodie himself, Sanford has worked with major brands like Sodexo. He knew great photos could make a big impact and could help local restaurants survive this trying time.

"People can't go out to the restaurants so restaurants are heavily reliant on social media to do curbside and delivery," he said. "You have to have good images to represent that kind of work."

The Pizzeria felt having photos like these could be really helpful. So, they took Sanford up on his offer. Within a day or two, Sanford showed up and began taking beautiful photos of their food. 

Within a few hours after their shoot, The Pizzeria had stunning images ready to go.

"We have these professional photos that are eye catching when scrolling on the phone and it's going to make people stop and look at the content more and drive business that way," said Garcia.

Garcia said they are incredibly grateful for the selfless act by Sandford to help them and other restaurants in their time of need.

"It means more than we can imagine that a professional out there sees that we are struggling and wants to step up and say they want to help us," said Garcia.

Sanford hopes his kindness in the midst of difficulty will encourage others to use their skills and talents for the greater good.

"Right now is a time where we need to step up and help each other and that's what I hope to get from that is that people will see this and be inspired to do the same," said Sanford.

Sandord is still willing to do free food photography for local restaurants as his time allows. 

You can send him a message via his Facebook page here.

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