PARADISE Calif. - Nic's in Paradise received a big surprise this week.
Football great Aaron Rodgers and the North Valley Community Foundation are helping the restaurant survive financially for the next few months after employees reached out without the business owner's knowledge.
Action News Now spoke to owner Nicki Jones about what it means to get a little extra funding during this pandemic, as her community rebuilds from the destruction of the Camp Fire.
"To say it was difficult is an understatement," explained Jones. "We are a new business and even though we were doing very well, once Covid hit it just went to a standstill..." she explained.
General Manager April Kelly said she and her team secretly applied for the philanthropic funding because owner Nicki Jones would not have done it herself.
"Nicki is a very giving person but she hates the spotlight and she hates a lot of attention on herself," Kelly explained. "She is one of those people that gives without making a big deal out of it," she added.
The video caught the eye of Butte County native Aaron Rogers, who said, "It was an absolute no brainer."
"Obviously I have a big heart for the North State," he explained. "What you are doing up there, being the first new business to open and hiring all Camp Fire survivors -- and then being hit with the pandemic... You are the perfect perfect business to have in our fund and we are excited to help out."
Owner Nicki Jones said the grant money will be used to help with payroll and utilities.
"What we have had to do is cut back on our staff, cut back on their hours," she explained. She laments that her employees have bills to pay as well. She said the money will help bring add more hours that the business is open to serve the public.
Both Jones and Kelly say they feel fortunate to be chosen as receivers of the generous support.. They are grateful for the North Valley Community Foundation and Aaron Rodgers. Jones said it's amazing that with all the fame Rodgers has found, he is still so supportive of his hometown area.
"There are so many businesses that need help, and to be selected... It is not that we feel we don't deserve it," Jones said, but "there are so many people that deserve it as well. It is very humbling," Jones continued.
"There are a lot of businesses struggling," said Kelly.
Even if the businesses that applied for the grant did not receive any money, she suggests that they keep persevering - and eventually they should see a light at the end of the tunnel.
Jones and Kelly were told that they will start receiving the financial help in about a week.
Kelly explained that they applied for the grant while owner Nicki Jones was dealing with the loss of her sister.
The business owner and manager want people to know they will be using Nicki Jones's own funds to create a patio extension in her sister's name.
If you notice some building going on at Nic's, she said, you can rest assured that the grant is not paying for it, but is supporting their employees and helping them keep open and expand their hours.