For lovers of old-school country music, there may be no being star in the heavens than the famed outlaw singer, Merle Haggard. But for the staff at Lulu’s Restaurant, he was family. “Before his death, we served Merle and his family for 30 years,” says owner Rich Paulson. “Booth Number 3 was always his favorite, and it sits as a kind of memorial that our customers love to visit.”

The famed singer, who owned a large ranch in Shasta County, was a devoted customer to Lulu’s and was often seen enjoying a big breakfast with his family at the restaurant. The staff, including Marci Biancalana, who knew Haggard from high school, reminisces about the kindness and generosity of the local man who went on to international stardom. “He was just a great person and a good friend to us all,” she says.

That spirit of generosity lives on today and through the team at Lulu’s and a big reason why there are partnering with Columbia Bank’s Pass It On Project. “The pandemic has been so hard on so many people, and we want to help in any way we can,” says Paulson. That is why Lulu’s Eating and Drinking is providing meals to those that need a little something extra and Columbia Bank is picking up the tab. “This project and the wonderful generosity of Columbia Bank will allow us to provide gift cards to customers who need a bit of a helping hand. I know if ol’ Merle was still here, he would certainly approve.”