Thank you Eater for sharing this information. Let’s all help where we can. We are all in this together. Sending love and prayers to everyone.
A List of Relief Funds for Coronavirus-Affected Restaurants, Bars, and Food Service Workers
Nonprofits and other grassroots organizations nationwide are working to help those affected by COVID-19
Restaurants across the country have been forced to close their doors in order to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus, either by choice or as a result of state or municipal orders to enforce social distancing. So now, many are in trouble. Diners can help in a number of ways — by ordering delivery or buying gift cards, for example. But some companies, nonprofits, and grassroots initiatives are allowing individuals to make a direct financial contribution to the restaurants and bars that make their cities a better place to live — as well as the workers behind those establishments — during this difficult time.
Below is a list of funds to which diners can donate and restaurants or their staff can find financial help. While a number of restaurants have launched independent drives to raise money from their own loyal customers, the campaigns below are working to distribute larger funds across many restaurants. The list will be updated as new information becomes available.
Help for Restaurants
Like government-issued war bonds, the Dining Bond Initiative seeks to bring in immediate cash in exchange for future restaurant purchases. Diners can buy gift certificates sold at a 25 percent discount ($100 worth of food for a $75 bond) to be redeemed in the restaurant within the next month or two, depending on how individual restaurants decide to honor the bonds. The program is open to all restaurants.
Following the cancellation of SXSW in Austin and restaurant closures across Texas, Houston chef Chris Shepherd’s Southern Smoke Foundation is accepting donations from well-wishers and applications for funds from restaurants and restaurant employees.
Some restaurants are banking on gift card sales to help defer costs until the pandemic subsides. Give Local is aggregating a list of those restaurants in cities across America.
Help for Restaurant and Delivery Workers
The RWCF, which works across a number of labor issues in the restaurant industry, launched the RWCF COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund. The fund collects donations to provide relief to individual workers affected by the coronavirus and to create zero-interest loans to businesses.
The OFW campaign, a nonprofit advocating against sub-minimum-wage laws for tipped restaurant workers, launched the OFW Emergency Fund. The target $213,000 (based on the federal tipped minimum wage of $2.13/hour) will provide immediate cash assistance to restaurant employees, delivery workers, and other tipped workers in the food industry. Demand from restaurants on OFW is already surging. Sally Kohn, a representative for OFW, tells Eater, “We’ve received about six more times the number of requests as we’ve received donations. The crisis is huge.”
In Charlottesville, Virginia, a grassroots fund on GoFundMe is raising donations to help restaurant employees pay critical bills, buy groceries, secure medications, and get around town. The goal for the effort is $10,000.
A number of workers from Andrew Tarlow’s restaurants in Brooklyn banded together to collect funds over Venmo for restaurant workers and organize volunteers to deliver groceries to people unable to leave their homes. The group has asked people to donate on Venmo @bkservicecoalition, adding, “If you are able to continue working from home, please consider donating what you’d spend on restaurant tips for an average week.”
The Giving Kitchen provides financial aid to restaurant workers in Georgia affected by different financial crises. The group is using one-time donations and funds from its recurring Pass the Hat campaign to help workers during the COVID-19 outbreak.
D.C. beer hall Hook Hall partnered with Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington to fund Hook Hall Helps, which creates care packages for restaurant workers that include food and other household essentials.
Another GoFundMe campaign looks to help Seattle hospitality workers, with the ultimate goal of $100,000. According to one of the organizers, Jessica Tousignant, the “aim is to center the most vulnerable members of our community and work our way out from there. Those who don’t have access to government assistance at this time, BIPOC, LGBTQI+, disabled, and immunocompromised folks.”
Bob Brazell, chef and owner of several St. Louis restaurants, launched a GoFundMe for hospitality workers in the city. Discussing why he launched the fund when restaurants can still rely on take out orders, he told the Riverfront Times, “Delivery and pick up is one thing, but we will all be chasing the same almost nonexistent dollar.”
Help for Bars and Bartenders
The United States Bartenders Guild is helping bartenders affected by the virus through its emergency assistance program. The guild is getting help from Jameson Irish Whiskey, which has pledged $500,000 toward the effort. SipScience, an analytics company focused on the hospitality industry, has also launched a GoFundMe to raise $100,000 for the USBG National Charity Foundation.