The Food Network host is working to help restaurant workers who have lost wages with a new relief fund.
It's no secret that Guy Fieri loves everything about food, the people who make it, and places that sell it. But now he's stepping up in this time of great uncertainty to support the industry that he loves dearly.
Guy wants to help support the huge number of restaurant industry employees who have lost jobs and/or paychecks, and are facing uncertain financial situations as the coronavirus pandemic has decimated the industry. Fieri has partnered with the National Restaurant Educational Foundation to launch the Restaurant Employee Relief Fund. Anyone who has worked in the restaurant industry for 90 days or more, as their primary source of income and has lost wages, can apply for this one-time $500 grant from the fund.
In an official press release, Fieri gave this statement:
"My entire career has been in the restaurant business. From bussing tables to flambe captain to dishwasher to chef… I've done it all. I've also spent the better part of the last 15 years traveling this great country meeting other folks who've dedicated their lives to this business and let me tell you something, they are the hardest working, most real deal workers you've ever met… the heartbeats of their communities. But they need our help and with Restaurant Relief America, we can serve up some support when these restaurant employees need it most… right now."
The site opened to applicants on Thursday, April 2, and had so many in such a short time that the site crashed.
“Due to extremely high volume last night and today, the Restaurant Employee Relief Fund website (RERF.us) is experiencing technical issues. We are working quickly to solve the problem and will formally open the application process once we ensure the many restaurant workers in need of aid are able to fairly submit their applications. We appreciate your patience; please go to our Twitter page @NRAEF for updates.” A statement posted to the fund’s Facebook page.
Several corporate sponsors have donated to help support the fund, including Uber Eats, PepsiCo, Moët Hennessy USA, Constellation Brands, Boston Beer Company, Ecolab, and more.
"Foodservice workers are facing unprecedented financial challenges and need support for everyday needs such as housing, childcare, and groceries," said Anne Fink, President of PepsiCo Global Foodservice. "We need to provide relief to our friends, neighbors, and customers to weather this storm so the restaurant industry can return more resilient than ever."
Those interested in donating can do so at RERF.US. All the funds contributed (100 percent) will go to restaurant workers impacted by the ongoing pandemic. The money is being handed out on a first-come, first-serve basis and will continue as long as the funds are available. Fieri will be leading the campaign to raise more money as long as possible. It's estimated that as many as 7 million restaurant industry workers will lose their jobs during this crisis.
The fund has set a $110 million goal, and so far, has raised over $8 million. Hopefully, more donations will come in as the need for help for restaurant industry workers is high. Many of those jobs do not carry benefits or unemployment, so any kind of support for these workers is crucial.
We applaud the effort and hope that many people can get some help from it. Have you heard of any other funds set up to assist foodservice and restaurant industry workers through this very trying and unsteady time? Please share in the comments.