Things started getting just a wee bit crazy on Thursday and Friday, and I trust this will help to explain it. I’ve tried to keep “official” pub communications separate from this blog and my own social media presence, but these are exceptional times and I want to push the news as far as possible.
Here’s the scoop.
Three weeks ago, Chef Edward Lee’s 610 Magnolia restaurant in Louisville KY was turned into a relief center for restaurant workers who’d been laid off or experienced a significant reduction in hours and/or pay because of the COVID-19 crisis.
Virtually overnight the LEE Initiative’s team (Lee, Lindsey Ofcacek, Collis Hillebrand and Kaitlyn Soligan) repurposed the organization to launch the Restaurant Workers Relief Program, providing food, supplies and assistance for restaurant workers in need. Just as quickly, it became a prototype for all of America.
Thanks to overwhelming community support, an anonymous private donor, and the continued generosity of Maker’s Mark, the LEE Initiative almost immediately was able to expand the Restaurant Workers Relief Program to 15 locations nationwide.
Restaurants across the country now are providing to-go meals, groceries, diapers and other essentials to those who need them.
Now, with support from Maker’s Mark, the LEE Initiative has awarded $10,000 grants to four like-minded organizations around the country.
The organizations receiving these grants were selected based on the positive work they’re already doing to support the restaurant industry during COVID-19.
Pints&union in New Albany (Joe Phillips, owner) is humbled to be one of the grant’s recipients, and the only one located in the state of Indiana.
The other three recipients are: Kelly English of Memphis TN (Fino’s Italian Deli); JJ Johnson of New York City (Fieldtrip Harlem restaurant); and Erik Bruner Yang of Washington D.C. (Power of 10 Initiative).
Prior to receiving this grant, Joe immediately pivoted Pints&union to do what’s possible to help people during the COVID-19 situation.
In addition to offering regular carryout/curbside to our customers (which we’ll continue to do), we’ve donated take and bake family meals and distributed groceries to service industry workers, single parents and local non-profits, including Rauch Inc., which provides services to people with disabilities.
Beginning Wednesday, April 8th, Pints&union will offer drive-through grocery service for restaurant workers from 5:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. on the alley side of our building. Restaurant workers must have their IDs and paycheck stubs as proof of employment.
We’re a small pub and intend to begin the campaign with five-days-a-week relief (Tuesday through Saturday) to start, aiming for seven later if it’s possible.
Note: Curbside carryout service will continue at the front of the building.
Inventory will change weekly or daily as donations arrive and are distributed. Times may vary depending on need and will be posted.
Take away meals are first come, first served and will consist of frozen soups, breads, pickled vegetables and the like. Extending the shelf life of donations and helping the food supply chain minimize waste are our chief goals. We’ll have life essentials on hand as well for those in need (limited supply). All variables are subject to change and we’ll keep everyone posted at Facebook and Instagram.
It must be stressed that the LEE Initiative’s grant is intended to serve as seed money. We need you to donate whatever you can, in cash or in kind, to help keep our relief efforts moving forward.
Go to: https://leeinitiative.kindful.com/
Select campaign: Restaurant Workers Relief Fund
Select amount: ($)
Go to this tab: “Are you funding a chef’s grant program?”
Select: Joe Phillips RELIEF
Or, send us an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, and let’s get the conversation started. Thanks for your patronage and donations. We’ll continue to help for so long as help is needed.