Food

Updated: These Organizations are Helping Unemployed Hospitality Workers

As the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic continues to slam the hospitality industry, charities and other organizations are stepping up to offer financial aid, assistance and job opportunities to the growing number of unemployed workers. Here are a number of available resources; we’ll continue to add to this list. 

National Resource

The James Beard Foundation is stepping in to help with its Food and Beverage Industry Relief Fund, aimed at generating quick economic relief for independent restaurants and bars across the country, via a fund of micro-grants from corporate, foundation and individual donations. 

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.

 

Initially established to advocate for minimum-wage laws for FOH restaurant employees, One Fair Wage expanded into the OFW Emergency Fund, which seeks to collect $213,000 for industry employees who rely on tips; click here for more information.

Spill The Dish is a database of financial aid resources across the country, searchable by state.

The Restaurant Workers’ Community Foundation launched the RWCF COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund, as a means to collect donations for individual industry employees who have been directly affected by the pandemic. The organization also establishes zero-interest loans for restaurants; here's more information

Women in Hospitality United is a female-run non-profit working to amass resources and funds for restaurants and employees. They’ve provided a running database of resources, contact info, ideas, and donation options for employees across the country.

The United States Bartenders Guild is stepping in for bartenders across the country, by utilizing its emergency assistance program, launching a GoFundMe with SipScience, and partnering with James Irish Whiskey, which has pledged $500,000.

The Small Business Association pledged to work with state governments across the country in providing low-interest recovery loans to independent businesses reeling from the pandemic; click here for more information.

Chef Chris Shepherd’s three-year-old Southern Smoke Foundation is tapping into its Emergency Relief Fund to aid restaurant employees during the crisis. If you need help, apply here and click here to learn more or donate to the cause.

Freelance artists can turn to this list of resources for advice and financial relief options. 

Throughout the country, grocery stores like Costco, Jewel-Osco and Mariano’s are ramping up hiring and reaching out to restaurant employees looking for work. Jobs include delivery services, stockers, deli assistants and more; check the links for more information. Jet's Pizza is also hiring delivery drivers in 20 states and Papa John's is hiring 20,000 new team members.

The Restaurant Workers Community Foundation has created a COVID-19 crisis relief fund to aid employees affected by COVID-19; here's where to go for more information.

The United States Bartenders Guild has a bartender emergency assistance program, which will allow bartenders or their spouses and children to apply for grant assistance. They also offer a useful list of resources for financial aid, assistance, and donation opportunities around the country including The Giving Kitchen, Children of Restaurant Employees, Big Table and more.

Arizona

Established in 2018 in Phoenix, Another Round, Another Rally is an organization that supports restaurant industry workers dealing with financial struggle via emergency funding and donations. In addition to accepting donations, the website is a resource for workers to apply for $500 grants, to be distributed immediately via PayPal, Venmo, and Zelle.

California

Chi Spacca has joined the LEE Initiative and Maker's Mark's Restaurant Workers Relief Program as a Los Angeles outpost. The restaurant is offering meals and essential items like household supplies, canned goods, personal items and baby food for restaurant industry employees, available for pickup on a nightly basis. Here's where to go for more information.

Feed the Line is collecting donations to pay restaurants to feed healthcare workers in San Francisco; here's where to go if you want to sign up to cook a meal for 20 people.

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.

Small businesses in San Francisco with five or fewer employees can apply for funding with the COVID-19 Small Business Resiliency Fund.

Colorado

Help Colorado Now is a new state-wide relief fund for those most in need of help, including first responders, homeless shelters, and restaurant industry employees. With Mile High United Way as a partner, the organization is raising as much money as possible for laid-off workers and small businesses, while also providing resources to connect industry professionals for potential collaboration and job opportunities.

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 various locations throughout Denver. The organization comes from not-for-profit CHOWKhesed Wellness and several restaurant partners, including Hinman’s BakeryIl 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. 

The Colorado Bartenders Guild launched Colorado Family Meal, which distributes free meals to Denver-based hospitality workers in need during the pandemic. If interested, workers can pick up three meals twice a week at Wynkoop Brewing Company

Inspired by Louisville-based chef Edward Lee’s The LEE Initiative, which launched The Restaurant Workers Relief Programwith Maker’s Mark to establish a relief distribution center at his restaurant, 610 MagnoliaSafta has joined the initiative as a Denver outpost for the program. The initiative provides much-needed supplies, meals and essential items like toilet paper, canned goods and baby food for restaurant industry employees, all available for pickup on a nightly basis.

Florida

Hands for Hospitality is a new fundraiser established to assist hourly employees of Fort Lauderdale restaurants who are currently out of work. The organization has a running list of participating independent restaurants where donations will be sent, and currently includes companies like Be Nice Hospitality, Old School Hospitality, Beer Famous Group and The Restaurant People.

Felix Bendersky (F+B Hospitality) has partnered with Miami chefs including Brad Kilgore, Michael Schwartz and Michelle Bernstein to create a fundraiser to support restaurant industry workers in need of income. The GoFundMe seeks to provide grants to full-time employees throughout Miami-Dade County who are out of work.

Georgia

Staplehouse in Atlanta is preparing 50 takeaway meals a day for the food service community. Email [email protected] with your name and place of employment to schedule a pickup. 

In light of the pandemic, the Giving Kitchen is turning to its Pass the Hat campaign to provide financial assistance to restaurant employees.

Farmers have been hit hard by the pandemic as well, and The Farmer Fund, run by Georgia Organics, is helping farmers endure the crisis and maintain income by supplying products to markets and CSAs.

Inspired by Louisville-based chef Edward Lee’s The LEE Initiative, which launched The Restaurant Workers Relief Program with Maker’s Mark to establish a relief distribution center at his restaurant, 610 MagnoliaRestaurant Eugene has joined the initiative as a Atlanta outpost for the program. The initiative provides much-needed supplies, meals and essential items like toilet paper, canned goods and baby food for restaurant industry employees, all available for pickup on a nightly basis.

Illinois

The Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity established the Hospitality Emergency Grant Program, with funds available to assist independent restaurants and bars with paying rent, payroll, training and more.

Starting today, Chicago’s Tzuco is partnering with Sysco Chicago Inc. for Comida Entre Amigos, turning the restaurant into a donation hub for service industry workers to pick up free grocery items like bread, produce and proteins. Just be sure and bring an ID and proof of restaurant employment. 

Chicago’s Fifty/50 Restaurant Group (Roots Handmade Pizza, Portsmith, Steadfast) is rallying for furloughed and laid off restaurant employees by cooking and offering 400 pre-packaged and contact-free meals on a daily basis. Anyone in need can pickup food from The Fifty/50 sports bar between 4 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Tuesdays-Sundays. The rotating menu features dishes like shepherd’s pie, chicken tinga and New England-style pot roast.

Big Star has joined the LEE Initiative and Maker's Mark's Restaurant Workers Relief Program as a Chicago outpost at its Wicker Park location. The restaurant is offering meals and essential items like household supplies, canned goods, personal items and baby food for restaurant industry employees, available for pickup on a nightly basis. Here's where to go for more information. 

One Off Hospitality Group (BlackbirdBig StarThe Violet Hour,The Publican) created a relief fund for its many laid-off or furloughed employees, across its numerous properties, as did Boka Restaurant Group.

Stock Mfg. and Leisure Activities launched Chicago Hospitality United, a new line of T-shirts with 100 percent of proceeds going towards local restaurant industry employees. Shirts cost $25, and buyers have the option to leave an extra tip, with sales divvied among participating restaurants, to be allocated to workers.

The City of Chicago has an Emergency Rental Assistance program, which is helping those out of work due to disasters or illnesses via one-time grants up to $9,000.

Kentucky

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.

Edward Lee partnered his non-profit, The LEE Initiative, with Maker’s Mark to establish a relief distribution center at his restaurant, 610 Magnolia. The restaurant is offering meals and essential items like household supplies, canned goods, personal items and baby food for restaurant industry employees, available for pickup on a nightly basis. Here's where to go for more information.

Great Bagel Bakery has joined the LEE Initiative and Maker's Mark's Restaurant Workers Relief Program as a New Orleans outpost. The restaurant is offering meals and essential items like household supplies, canned goods, personal items and baby food for restaurant industry employees, available for pickup on a nightly basis. Here's where to go for more information.

Louisiana

Toups Meatery is offering “Family Meal” every day at 3 p.m. free of charge for restaurant industry members in need. Just call the restaurant ahead of time so they can safely prepare and box your meal. https://toupsmeatery.com

NOLA Virtual Tip Jar, a public Google document list of local restaurant and bar workers and their Venmo accounts, launched to help the public for easy and direct donations.

CureCo, the group behind Cure and Cane & Table, has created a relief fund that distributes revenue from batched cocktails and bottled cocktails directly to its furloughed staffers. Customers can order drinks to-go from Cure, and all proceeds will benefit employees.

Cochon has joined the LEE Initiative and Maker's Mark's Restaurant Workers Relief Program as a New Orleans outpost. The restaurant is offering meals and essential items like household supplies, canned goods, personal items and baby food for restaurant industry employees, available for pickup on a nightly basis. Here's where to go for more information.

Massachusetts

Originally established as a financial aid resource for restaurant employees out of work due to injury, Behind You Inc has shifted gears to help workers impacted by COVID-19. Boston-area workers can apply for aid, and the organization is amassing donations via Paypal, Facebook and Venmo, to be distributed to those in need. https://www.behindyouinc.or

Emergency Funds for Boston Area Service Workers is collecting donations for affected industry employees throughout the region with a form for workers to complete in order to receive a grant.

In Boston, Ken Oringer, Ming Tsai, Chris Coombs, Samuel Adams beer, and the Greg Hill Foundation have all banded together to create the Restaurant Strong Fund, seeking to provide $1,000 grants to full-time industry workers in this time of crisis. Sam Adams has already donated $100,000 and plans to match donations through March 31, up to an additional $100,000.

Minnesota

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.

Missouri

In order to help restaurants and employees in St. Louis, chef Bob Brazell started a GoFundMe with a goal of raising $10,000.

The Rieger has transformed from restaurant to a community kitchen that’s also accepting donations and providing meals for service industry workers and anyone else in need of assistance during the pandemic. All donations are split between The Rieger’s hourly staff.

Nevada

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 the United Way of Southern Nevada at 702-892-2300.

In the Las Vegas area, Clark County officials are working with local non-profit groups and partners like Honey Salt Restaurant and Buddy V’s to run its new Delivering with Dignity program, offering free meals on a daily basis to people in need or unable to leave their homes, including unemployed restaurant industry workers. The initiative also seeks to provide employment opportunities for restaurant workers who are out of a job. 

New York

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. 

Employees from Andrew Tarlow’s Brooklyn restaurants rallied together to launch the Service Worker’s Coalition, as a means to collect funds via Venmo in order to deliver groceries to workers stuck at home. People can donate on Venmo via @bkservicecoalition and visit here for more information on receiving help.

New York City-based non-profit Rethink is focusing its efforts on the coronavirus with its Rethink Restaurant Response Program, which helps BOH employees find work at its Navy Yard culinary center, by cooking meals for in-need locals and partner restaurants. Additionally, restaurants can apply to become a Rethink partner, which provides $40,000 grants while establishing the restaurant as a distribution center for food from Rethink.

Olmsted has joined the LEE Initiative and Maker's Mark's Restaurant Workers Relief Program as New York outposts. The restaurant is offering meals and essential items like household supplies, canned goods, personal items and baby food for restaurant industry employees, available for pickup on a nightly basis. Here's where to go for more information.

Gertie has also joined the LEE Initiative and Maker's Mark's Restaurant Workers Relief Program as New York outposts. The restaurant is offering meals and essential items like household supplies, canned goods, personal items and baby food for restaurant industry employees, available for pickup on a nightly basis. Here's where to go for more information.

North Carolina

Raleigh chef Ashley Christensen aligned with the Frankie Lemmon Foundation to launch the Triangle Restaurant Workers Relief Fund, in order to amass donations for workers in Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill. Folks can donate on the website, and workers can fill out a form if they’re in need of aid.

Ohio

Mita has joined the LEE Initiative and Maker's Mark's Restaurant Workers Relief Program as a Cincinnati outpost. The restaurant is offering meals and essential items like household supplies, canned goods, personal items and baby food for restaurant industry employees, available for pickup on a nightly basis. Here's where to go for more information.

Oklahoma

In partnership with the Oklahoma Restaurant Association, the Lobeck Taylor Family Foundation created the Tulsa Restaurant Relief Fund to provide financial aid for industry workers who are out of a job. As the fund collects donations, they’ll be divvied out in $1,000 grants directly to industry employees; here's where to go for more information and to apply for a grant

Oregon

The PDX COVID-19 Mutual Aid Network was put together as an online resource where workers can enroll to request assistance with both food and finances. There’s also A GoFundMe collecting more donations.

Portland’s Family Meal is offering financial aid to members of the restaurant and agricultural industries who are struggling as a result of the pandemic. The organization is also offering grants for restaurant employees unable to work, or who are quarantined or tested positive for COVID-19.

Pennsylvania

Philadelphia-based Cooks Who Care put together this comprehensive document filled with resources, donations, tips and suggestions for business owners both locally and nationwide.

The Greater PGH Restaurant Workers Emergency Fund is a GoFundMe to support Pittsburgh’s restaurant workers, with the goal of raising $60,000 to provide payments of $150 per worker who applied to be part of the program.

Philly Restaurant Relief was established as a resource for donations to help local employees struggling and out of work. The site features a running database of restaurants, cafes and bars, along with resources for providing direct donations.

South Carolina

Charleston Virtual Tip Jar is a running list of local restaurant and bar workers and their Venmo accounts, for easy and direct donations; here's where to go to join.

Texas

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 through Friday between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m.

Here's a running Google spreadsheet filled with Venmo and Paypal information for laid-off industry workers; you can join the list here.

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.

Utah

Not only is Salt Lake City reeling from the coronavirus pandemic, but a recent earthquake has added even more strife for the city, its residents and its out-of-work restaurant employees. Mayor Erin Mendenhall and actor/restaurateur Ty Burrell have started a donation fund, which will distribute money to workers from restaurants that have applied to be part of the initiative. Currently, the charity has earned more than $150K.

Virginia

The C’Ville Restaurant Fund is a GoFundMe collecting donations for restaurant employees in Charlottesville, in order to help them cover essential basics like groceries, bills, and medication. 

Richmond-based Holli Fund is offering grants to food service workers grappling with the repercussions of the coronavirus. People out of a job and in need of assistance can apply here.

Washington

Salare has joined the LEE Initiative and Maker's Mark's Restaurant Workers Relief Program as a Seattle outpost. The restaurant is offering meals and essential items like household supplies, canned goods, personal items and baby food for restaurant industry employees, available for pickup on a nightly basis. Here's where to go for more information.

The Seattle Hospitality Fund is a GoFundMe with a $150,000 goal and a mission to support the most vulnerable restaurant workers, like disabled employees, members of the LGBTQ+ community, and those without access to government aid.

Small business owners with five or fewer employees can apply for small business stabilization funding through the Office for Economic Development.

Amazon established a Neighborhood Small Business Relief Fund in order to offer cash grants to independent restaurants in Seattle that need help.

Washington, D.C.

Edward Lee partnered his non-profit, The LEE Initiative, with Maker’s Mark to establish a relief distribution center at his restaurant, Succotash. The restaurant is offering meals and essential items like household supplies, canned goods, personal items and baby food for restaurant industry employees, available for pickup on a nightly basis. Here's where to go for more information.

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) for restaurant workers.

D.C. Virtual Tip Jar is a list of local restaurant and bar workers and their Venmo accounts, for easy and direct donations.

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]