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[Roundup] Hospitality employees are struggling during this crisis: Here’s how you can help

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Since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, hospitality employees have been hit especially hard financially.

In Washington state, 68,316 accommodation and food service employees have filed initial claims for unemployment insurance as of March 28. These are unprecedented times and while employees wait for federal stimulus checks, they are in need of funds now.

“Restaurants have been there for us forever,” said celebrity chef Guy Fieri in a recent interview with ABC News. “Our milestones, our fundraising—it was always the restaurants.” If you, or someone you know, would like to help, there are resources.

Restaurant Employee Relief Fund

The National Restaurant Association Education Foundation and celebrity chef Guy Fieri have partnered to create the Restaurant Employee Relief Fund.

So far, the fund has raised $10 million, Fieri said the goal is $100 million and 100 percent of the proceeds go directly to employees.

“We’ve got tens of thousands of restaurants that are closing. Some for a short period of time, some probably forever,” Fieri said during a recent interview on ABC News. “We have millions and millions of restaurant employees without jobs. We’re at three million now. Estimation is this could go to five million to seven million. [We’re] talking about a lot of families, people living paycheck to paycheck.”

If you would like to donate, click here.

Buy Now, Play Later

The Washington Tourism Alliance has launched its Buy Now, Play Later program.

Customers can purchase gift cards for their favorite restaurants, resorts and other small businesses now and use them once the coronavirus crisis has passed.

If you would like to purchase a gift card, click here.

Big Table

Big Table helps those in the hospitality industry during the best of times. Now that the industry is in crisis, it is still helping.

The organization, which has locations in Spokane and Seattle, helps low-income hospitality employees with utility assistance, rent or a deposit for housing, connections to counseling, car repair, diapers or food for single mothers, a bike for transportation to work, medical or dental care or assistance with résumé development.

There are several ways to contribute to Big Table’s cause: you can donate, volunteer, adopt a restaurant, host a benefit event and more. The organization is taking donations for those affected by job loss during the coronavirus pandemic now.

To learn more about Big Table, visit its website.

The Plate Fund of Greater Seattle (Schultz Family Foundation)

For employees seeking relief in Seattle and King County, the Schultz Family Foundation, in partnership with All in Seattle, the Seattle Foundation and UpTogether, has launched a new program, The Plate Fund of Greater Seattle, to support restaurant employees in King County who have experienced job loss or a loss of income during the coronavirus crisis. It will provide immediate relief to workers with one-time, $500 cash payments for items such as food, medicine, baby products, insurance premiums and phone bills.

If you would like to contribute, click here.