A Wodonga eatery has continued to put others first despite enduring the most challenging period ever faced by small businesses.
Wodonga Lunch Box has kept its doors open throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and could be forgiven for not being able to put as much back into the community, but it's been quite the opposite.
Owner Katy Maras started by supporting the bushfire relief efforts across the region with her father, Alby, the captain of the Jingellic RFS.
Ms Maras said her generous customers donated to the cause, while she also hosted an event at a friend's restaurant at Bright, raising more than $11,000 for the region devastated by the fires.
In June, the Osburn Street cafe generated more than $3000 from a breast cancer awareness campaign in support of a friend of Ms Maras.
IN OTHER NEWS:
"We had shirts printed up with the 'Real Men Wear Pink' slogan and we did a bit of a Facebook promotion where if we raised $500 in the first week, we'd dye our hair pink," she said.
"Every single one of us dyed our hair pink and we're still trying to get rid of it (laughs)."
Instead of wearing a uniform to work, Ms Maras and her staff regularly don shirts of other businesses within the industrial precinct where her cafe is located.
"People are starting to recognise us because we wear shirts to try and promote other businesses," she said.
"We get asked all the time if we get paid to wear them but that's not the case, we buy them.
"We all got shirts for the Footy for Fires event (at Corryong) earlier in the year and they've got all their sponsors on the back and we sometimes have businesses come in to give us shirts to wear.
"We try to do our bit."
Ms Maras said she'd been fortunate her business hadn't take a huge hit during the year, largely because the majority of surrounding manufacturers and trade-based workplaces had remained open.
"I've actually been able to put some more staff on in part-time roles and offer a few more hours," she said.
"We're fortunate a lot of the businesses around here are trade-focused or manufacturing, so all of our customers are experiencing a bit of a boom.
"You talk to anyone in the building industry and they've said they've never been busier, so while they're busy we've been able to maintain the business and look for ways to grow."
Ms Maras took over the shop almost three years ago and loved being able to support the community.
"If the tradies are heading out of town they'll buy breakfast and lunch for the day, but 6am is the first really busy wave and then it's pretty much on the hour from there," she said.