Giles County family to raise autism awareness one hot dog at a time

PEARISBURG, Va. – A Giles County family is cookin’ up a one-of-a-kind business.

Father Charlie Merriam said “Simple Fixins” will be a hot dog food trailer when it opens in about a week or so, but it will also serve a bigger purpose.

Merriam said it all started when he asked his son what he liked. “He said, I like hot dogs,” Merriam said. That’s how Simple Fixins’ was born.

Charlie Merriam’s son, Marcus Austin, is 21 years old. Merriam adopted him and his two siblings about ten years ago.

Austin has autism, but he doesn’t let that hold him back. He recently graduated from New River Community College, and he’s been searching for what’s next. That’s where Simple Fixins comes in.

“Our goal is to help those with disabilities,” Merriam said. “Marcus of course, has autism, and we don’t treat him like he has autism, but he excels even when he does. So we want him to have something he can grow with.”

When they’re open for business, they plan to donate some of their proceeds to autism awareness, and they have a long-term goal of employing people with disabilities. They’ve already heard from other special needs parents touched by what they’re doing.

“She said my child would probably never be able to do this, and she seen Marcus’s story,” Merriam said. “It just, it inspired her.”

Merriam said they’ve already booked one event. True to Austin’s roots, they’ll be serving up Simple Fixins at an adoption agency function.

To donate or find more information, visit Simple Fixins Facebook page.

About the Author

Amy Cockerham joined the 10 News team in January 2023.

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