Here's Where Hospitality Workers in Need Can Find Help
Editor's Note: Plate is making coverage of the coronavirus available to all readers. Find more articles here.
The economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic continues to slam the hospitality industry; the recent job report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics attributed 27 percent of the job losses in the month of April to those employed in the food and beverage industry. While some states are starting to allow restaurants to open their dining rooms, many businesses remain shuttered, leaving millions out of work.
A number of charities and other organizations continue to offer financial aid, assistance and job opportunities to unemployed restaurant workers. We’ve listed available resources by state below. Let us know of others by emailing us at [email protected] and we’ll add them to this list.
The Southern Smoke Foundation, founded by Chris Shepherd, is offering emergency relief funds to anyone who can prove employment in the food and beverage industries for at least six months; click here to apply.
Working with The LEE Initiative founded by Edward Lee, restaurants in 19 cities around the country have converted into community kitchens, serving as a safe place for unemployed workers to pick up food and grocery essentials almost daily. Click here for the full list of locations as well as pickup details.
CORE Gives is a nationwide organization seeking to help restaurant workers with children by supplying them with food. The site also provides a resource center for financial aid.
Hospitality Link is providing a free job matching resource for hospitality employees looking for work. In a win-win move, the site lists roles in grocery stores, which are stretched thin under the current demands and in need of help from trained hospitality pros. JobGet is another app that helps hospitality workers find and apply for new jobs instantly.
The Trotter Project is looking to hire unemployed food service workers in Boston, Chicago and L.A. to help prepare and deliver individually packaged meals to the hungry. Applications will be accepted through May 27. Apply here.
It is an especially scary time for immigrant workers and undocumented communities. Check out this Google document for an organized list of resources and tips, covering everything from where to get tested to where to seek financial assistance.
For a comprehensive list of restaurant employee resources, organized state-by-state, the Gig Workers Collective provides links and contact information for gig workers like servers and bartenders to gain access to financial aid, rent assistance, food, medical care and more.
La Cocina in Tucson is offering free meals to laid off hospitality workers between 2 p.m and 4 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Food is served on the restaurant’s patio, to a maximum of three diners at a time to ensure safe social distancing.
Che Fico is offering free meals to people in need through the Che Fico Family Meal Program; book online to order a meal 48 hours in advance.
The Angel Relief Fund is focusing its charitable efforts on hospitality workers who have been diagnosed with COVID-19, are quarantined, or have been out of work for more than a month. If you meet the criteria and reside in Colorado, apply for financial aid here.
Offering both free meals and mental health services for hospitality employees affected by COVID-19, Operation Family Meal is accessible Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at locations throughout Denver. The organization comes from not-for-profit CHOW, Khesed Wellness and several restaurant partners, including Hinman’s Bakery, Il Posto and American Elm.
Denver food hall Zeppelin Station, in partnership with not-for-profit Friends & Family, is offering free meals for out-of-work industry members on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Each day features a different meal from one of the food hall’s vendors, and orders can be texted to 720.446.8731 the day prior.
Restaurants can apply for financial assistance with Delaware’s newly implemented Hospitality Emergency Loan Program (HELP), which provides no-interest loans up to $10,000 for restaurants and bars.
Staplehouse in Atlanta is preparing takeaway meals for the food service community, Tuesday-Saturday. Email [email protected] with your name and current or former place of employment and preferred pickup time (between 1 and 2 p.m., or 2 and 3 p.m.).
Slow Food Chicago and Advocates for Urban Agriculture and Food:Land:Opportunity has just announced round two of grants for Chicagoland farmers affected by COVID-19. Applications are being accepted through May 29 for community gardens, farm businesses or collaborative projects, in amounts from $1,000-$10,000. Go to AUA’s website for details in English and Español.
Chicago-based non-profit Pilot Light, which partners chefs with schools to provide education on food and cooking, is paying chefs to create easy-to-follow educational cooking videos for families to watch at home. The series is called “Family Meal;” if you’re interested, you can apply here.
Chicago’s Fifty/50 Restaurant Group (Roots Handmade Pizza, Portsmith, Steadfast) is cooking and offering pre-packaged and contact-free meals to anyone in need, including hospitality members, on a daily basis out of The Fifty/50. Pickup food from The Fifty/50 between 4 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Tuesdays-Sundays.
Rye on Market in Louisville is offering free family meals for service industry members; applications and ordering details available here.
In Lexington, VisitLEX and Keeneland Racecourse joined forces with non-profit community kitchen FoodChain to create Nourish Lexington and support local hospitality members by hiring unemployed restaurant workers to prepare meals for locals in need.
Apron Inc. is a non-profit founded in 2011 with the intent to assist independent restaurant employees struggling through situations like illnesses and natural disasters. The organization is currently offering financial aid to workers diagnosed with COVID-19, and is actively seeking more ways to raise more money and offer more assistance.
Toups Meatery is offering free Family Meal every day at 3 p.m. for industry members in need. Call the restaurant ahead of time so they can safely prepare and box your meal.
The City of Quincy’s Affordable Housing Trust Fund and the Quincy Chamber of Commerce have established the City of Quincy Hospitality Support Fund, designed to assist with costs relating to rent and leases for members of the hospitality industry. For more information and to submit an application, click here.
The first pay-what-you-can restaurant in Minneapolis, Provision Community Restaurant, has shifted its model amidst the COVID-19 crisis by providing free meals twice daily for anyone in need, especially restaurant workers.
With donations from Major Brands and Beam Suntory, the Missouri Restaurant Association was able to start a fundraising campaign to support restaurant workers who have been laid off or furloughed. To request funds, click here.
The Rieger has transformed from restaurant to a Crossroads Community Kitchen that’s also accepting donations and providing meals for service industry workers and anyone else in need of assistance during the pandemic from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. daily.
The people behind Honey Salt, Graffiti Bao and other restaurants have partnered to launch Delivering with Dignity, a program that takes excess food from restaurants and serves meals to low-income families in the Las Vegas area. To volunteer for the project or request a meal, call 888.603.3548.
Heart to Harvest has launched the Restaurant Rescue Fund, an initiative to help independant restaurants in the New York Metro area and New Jersey reopen through a grant fund. The organzation will also provide assistance wtih vendor and landlors negotiations, staffing, and operational improvements to ensure longevity after reopening. Restaurant owners can check if they qualify and apply for assistance here.
Family Meal Hospitality Trust has created the WNY Hospitality Relief fund, which is using donations to supply New York City hospitality workers with much-needed grants.
The Ohio Restaurant Association started the Ohio Restaurant Employee Relief Fund, which is providing grants to members of the state’s hospitality industry. Workers can go here to verify their previous employment and fill out an application.
Hunger Free Oklahoma launched Tulsa Kitchens Unite, a program that pays restaurants and their workers to remain open and prepare free meals for Tulsa families in need.
Charleston-based East Island Brewing Co. established its Spread the Love Relief Fund to support hospitality workers in all states where Island Brands are sold: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia. Industry workers can apply to receive donations here.
Charleston Hospitality Group (CHG) is preparing free hot meals for its employees and other hospitality workers, as well as healthcare professionals, at all of its Toast locations in Charleston, as part of its new “Full Belly, Full Hearts” campaign. People are welcome to pick up one meal per day between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m.
Houston-based Second Servings has partnered with Hess Corporation and Sysco for its “Dinner’s On Us” program, offering family meals to take home for local hospitality workers in need. The organization aims to donate 10,000 meals per week every Tuesday and Thursday between 10 a.m. and noon. More details here.
Dallas’ 8020 Hospitality launched a new program called "Everybody Eats,” preparing free meals for service industry workers, available for safe curbside pickup at Hero Monday to Friday between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m.
Shift Dallas, an organization established by restaurant industry vets in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, provides an outlet for out-of-work employees to fill out forms and apply for help, and acts as a resource for donors to provide assistance for locals who need it.
Richmond-based Holli Fund is offering grants to food service workers; those in need of assistance can apply here.
Along with the Seattle Restaurant Alliance, UpTogether and the Seattle Foundation, Starbucks Chairman Howard Schultz helped put together a new coalition, The Plate Fund, to provide $500 grants to in-need restaurants workers throughout King County, as quickly as possible.
Silver Diner at Rio and Real Food for Kids kicked off Chefs Feeding Families, a program to help feed needy families. Click here for more information on curbside delivered meals every weekday.
Beer hall Hook Hall has teamed up with Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington to create Hook Hall Helps, which puts together care packages of pivotal essentials (e.g. groceries, household supplies) and industry family meals for restaurant workers. Click here for the full schedule and for information on applying for unemployment benefits.
We will continue to update this resource list; please let us know about regional and national resources and job listings we can share in the comments below or by emailing [email protected]