Coronavirus & the Restaurant Industry: Restaurant Workers Community Foundation Establishes the Restaurant Workers COVID-19 Crisis Relief Fund by Donna John
Restaurant Workers Community Foundation (RWCF) was founded in 2018 to advocate for gender equality, racial justice, fair wages and healthy work environments in the restaurant industry. In the wake of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, RWCF’s full focus is on supporting workers, small business owners and an industry in crisis.
Restaurant workers make up 10 percent of America’s workforce, and they are among the country's most vulnerable populations. More than 2.45 million restaurant workers live in poverty, and only 14 percent receive employer-sponsored health benefits.
As restaurants across the country cut hours, suspend business and close for good, many restaurant workers will be faced with long-term loss of income. For months to come, they will need help accessing government benefits and mental health services, paying their rent and feeding their families.
RWCF has established a Restaurant Workers COVID-19 Crisis Relief Fund to:
- Immediately direct money to organizations leading on-the-ground efforts in the restaurant community.
- To bolster our impact investing budget to provide zero-interest loans to businesses to maintain payroll during closure or re-open once this crisis has passed.
- To establish a relief fund for individual workers facing economic hardships or health crises as a direct result of COVID-19.
“Up until now, RWCF has been relatively light on direct pleas for donations, and that was for a reason. We wanted to build a history of successful work before asking people to trust us with their charitable dollars,” says John deBary, RWCF co-founder and board president. “The coronavirus crisis has upended that strategy – we need to start working to help the most vulnerable among us NOW.”
Resources for Restaurants and Workers
RWCF is compiling an extensive list of resources and links related to the COVID-19 Crisis on its website, and, soon, we will collect data (qualitative and quantitative) from affected workers and restaurant owners so that we can work with local and national leaders to address the systemic issues the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed.
In a time when so many people feel powerless, RWCF invites the industry, diners and the larger community to:
- Donate funds to the Restaurant COVID-19 Crisis Relief Fund.
- Use RWCF’s resources and information on restaurant closures, financial resources, unemployment benefits, immigrant concerns, mental health, relief efforts and more.
- Tell RWCF about your efforts to aid, sustain and uplift restaurant workers in these difficult times.
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