Patrons and community organizations across the country are uniting in support of local restaurants. Just today, community members donate $1 million to local restaurants serving hospital workers. This evening, Miami’s Downtown Development Authority added more donations into its Hospitality Industry Relief Fund. The Canadian Hospitality Worker Relief Fund launched with $1 million in brand new grants today. A restaurant owner from Georgia donated her car to support furloughed servers and kitchen staff.
“Thank you to Meals To Heal for continuing to support front line workers in Toronto,” said a grateful news reporter in Canada. “They dropped off local restaurant gift cards to a hard hit seniors home.” Goodwill continued to spread to restaurants across the country.
Titans of the restaurant industry have put their money where their mouth is. Daniel Humm continues operating his Michelin-starred Eleven Madison Park as a free commissary kitchen for COVID-19 affected workers. Pharmaceutical giant Bayer announced that it will donate free chloroquine if clinical trials show efficacy against coronavirus. Celebrity chef José Andrés has raised millions in restaurant donations. Marcus Samuelsson is serving free meals to hospital workers in Miami. Over 9,000 members of the Independent Restaurant Coalition lobbied successfully for millions in ringfenced Paycheck Protection Program forgivable loans.
Even amid the shutdown, the Chicago Tribune honored local restaurants with its prestigious Readers’ Choice Dining Awards. “They need our support, as do all the restaurants and bars across the area,” wrote Joe Gray. “We await, as all of you do, the time when we can visit all of these winners again.”
“The hospitality community is my extended family,” said celebrity chef Victor Barry. “Since I was 11 years old, I’ve had the privilege of working side-by-side with the exceptional people who make, serve, and deliver your food. And now more than ever these hardworking people need our help.”
The good news continued. Family-owned Kouzina donated 100 meals to families experiencing homelessness. Restaurateur Matt Swift donated 5,000 pounds of rice to depleted food banks. Delivery service Y the Wait waived all service fees until July 1st. Saltbox Smokehouse customers donated 385 meals for workers at Newark Wayne Hospital. PepsiCo donated an additional $3 million to the Restaurant Relief Fund. Martha Stewart, Momofuku Group founder David Chang, actor Stanley Tucci, and other donors contributed millions more.
Millions of tweets are trending with the hashtag #TakeoutTuesday in solidarity with local restaurants attempting to encourage deliveries and takeaway food orders. In a representative tweet from a coalition of farmers in the southwest United States, “Lets come together as a community & support our local businesses for #TakeoutTuesday. Order from your favorite restaurant today!”
Across the world, restaurant owners are working tirelessly to survive through the coronavirus pandemic. Even as face masks, gloves and frequent hand washing are taking a toll on workers’ skin, they persist. Loyal patrons want to thank them for their dedication. Millions of dollars of donations such as those mentioned above, are an uplifting reminder that the industry will return soon, stronger than ever.