As COVID-19’s long term impact on the global economy remains unclear, its short term effects are not, and they weigh heavily upon service industry workers: bartenders, restaurant workers, and yes, baristas. Bars, restaurants, and cafes worldwide are limiting service or outright closing (hopefully not for good), significantly decreasing the number of workable hours available to their employees. These folks are by and large paid an hourly wage and rely heavily upon tips to make ends meets, so the preventative measures against the spread of the coronavirus have a deleterious effect on their livelihoods. (This is to say nothing of the dangers members of the service industry face in their daily interactions with strangers nor of their inability to receive affordable treatment should their continued exposure result in them contracting the virus.)
To help these workers in need, groups around the country are stepping up. We’ve compiled a list of fundraising efforts taking place locally to assist businesses and workers whose financial futures. If you are able, consider donating to these causes.
Is there a fundraising effort taking place near you that should be included here? Give us a shout!
Restaurant Workers’ Community Foundation COVID-19 Crisis Relief Fund
The New York City-based Restaurant Workers' Community Foundation (RWCF) exists to “to advocate for gender equality, racial justice, fair wages, and healthy work environments in the restaurant industry.” But in the wake of the global pandemic, their efforts have to pivoted to “supporting workers, small business owners, and an industry in crisis.”
With their newly established COVID-19 Crisis Relief Fund, the RWCF aims 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, [and] to establish a relief fund for individual workers facing economic hardships or health crises as a direct result of COVID-19.
Individual as well as company donations can be made here and can be made on a one-time-only or recurring basis.
Seattle Hospitality Emergency Fund
In Seattle, aid efforts are not being spearheaded by non-profit groups, but from within the service industry community itself. Created by industry vet Jessica Tousignant along with non-industry Communications Manager at Microsoft Candace Whitney-Morris, the Seattle Hospitality Emergency Fund has been setup to provide assistance to workers “whose hours have been curtailed because of this crisis and who are not being otherwise compensated,” prioritizing “BIPOC, LGBTQIA+, disabled, and immunocompromised members of our community.”
The efforts have currently raised $45,000 of their $100,000, to be distributed based as need dictates amongst those who have applied for and been granted aid. Grantees will also be asked to apply for unemployment coverage to make sure they are receiving the full breadth of assistance available to them. To apply for aid from Seattle Hospitality Emergency Fund, fill out the survey here. To donate to the fund, visit their GoFundMe page here.
Shift Dallas Job and Wage Loss Survey
Shift Dallas is a group of service industry professionals looking to “provide access to education, mentorship, and support for their industry peers,” and with the closing of all bars and dine-in restaurants, the most immediate need stems from the loss of wages due to COVID-19. That's why Shift is asking those affected to fill out a survey so that they may “better understand the needs of our community.” The survey can be found here.
We'll be updating this story with more local relief efforts as they are brought to our attention.