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  • Writer's pictureAllan Shedlin

FK Your Diet and Feed the Urge to Give

Updated: Dec 6, 2023

Guest Post by J. Boyce Gleason

For some reason, I stopped at the ATM on my way out of the hotel. I didn’t really need the cash but something inside me made it feel necessary. I was in Fort Meyers for a guys weekend playing golf, and our host for the trip told us to meet at a breakfast place before our first tee time.

When we pulled up at the address, however, I wasn’t so sure that the place was a good idea. It was adjacent to a massage parlor and looked a little, well…off. Garish paint colors of orange, bright blue, bold yellow, and pink covered the place outside and in, and child-like letters boldly proclaimed its name.

FK Your Diet.

The 12 of us walked in, sat down and were greeted by a middle-aged man in a t-shirt stained with food. He had a broad smile and a devilish glint to his eyes.

“I could be part of this group.” He ribbed us, handing out menus, “If I had a collared shirt.”

His name was Doug Miller and he is the owner of the establishment. His restaurant’s theme is “Eat to Give” and “FK” stands for “Foster Kids.” Having grown up in a series of foster homes throughout his childhood, Doug along with his girlfriend, Amy Eldridge, decided to give back to the foster care community after he retired from a career in sales.

They created FK Your Diet as a vehicle for funneling money into services devoted to Foster Kids. For years, there were no prices on his menus because many of his customers had no money and he refused to let anyone leave his place hungry. He asked customers to pay what they could, relying on the better angels of their nature to keep his place in business and to send money to his charities.

When hurricane Ian hit the Fort Meyers community like a sledgehammer, thousands were left homeless. He and his merry band of waiters and volunteers served 300,000 hot meals to those impacted by the storm. They brought in a thousand trucks filled with household goods and appliances for those who lost everything. And they continue to help the needy at Fort Meyers Beach by providing free breakfast and lunch meals from Monday to Friday.

And then there are the foster kids. In addition to a place where they can always count on a hot meal, he donates a large portion of his proceeds to the agencies that provide for the foster care community. He throws Thanksgiving dinners, graduation celebrations for Foster Kids, and works with the local high school, holding regular lunches with teachers and at-risk kids to improve connections between the two.

The icing on this cinnamon roll is that the food is amazing. Served by cheerful waiters who call everyone and each other “boss,” the food is over-the-top good. The menu is based on the meals Doug prized most from his youthful tour through foster homes. The breakfast burrito is the size of a football and his turkey gravy is to die for. I had a “breakfast sammie,” and it was about twice the amount of food I could eat.

The 12 of us left his restaurant for the golf course, deeply moved by how much one person’s passion could affect his community. It was, to be honest, a very humbling experience.

But, at least, then I understood why I needed the cash from the hotel ATM.

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J. Boyce Gleason is a dad to three sons, three daughters-in-law, and five granddaughters. He is an author of award-winning historical novels for mature audiences, including The Carolingian Chronicles books Anvil of God, Wheel of the Fates, and Crown of A King. Joe also has become a regular contributor to the Daddying blog. Before turning his talents to writing, Gleason worked as a press secretary on Capitol Hill for two U.S. Representatives and served in the private sector as a public affairs and crisis management consultant. Gleason's work on some of the most visible corporate crises in recent U.S. history earned him national recognition and made him a featured speaker and advisor to corporate, academic, civil rights, and nonprofit institutions. He earned an AB in history from Dartmouth College and brings a strong understanding of the events that shaped history to his writing. He and his wife, Mary Margaret, live in Virginia. You can follow him on Facebook and Twitter @jboycegleason.


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