First, a thank you to all of the listeners, readers, and followers who’ve contacted us to ask how you can help the drinks industry during this crisis. While everyone’s worlds have changed over the past weeks, hospitality workers have been among the hardest hit. Practically overnight, entire careers, companies, and communities have evaporated, and there’s no telling when — or if — some businesses will reopen.
At VinePair, we’ve dedicated all of our resources to reporting about the crisis and to maintaining a live blog about how Covid-19 is impacting the drinks industry — across wine, beer, and spirits, and all three of the industry tiers.
Here, we’ve collected resources and information to help industry readers learn how and where to access aid. And for our audience of drinks lovers who don’t work in the industry, the links below provide a simple way to donate. If you’re in a position to give back, please do. Some 16.8 million people in the United States work in leisure and hospitality jobs, as defined by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and many tens of millions of more work in other likely impacted service industries. These are the people who take care of us, day in and day out. Now, let’s band together to help take care of them.
We’ll update this list continuously as we learn about new ways to help. Please send recommendations for inclusion to [email protected]
*The Restaurant Workers Community Foundation, a 501(c)(3) advocacy and action nonprofit, created by and for restaurant workers, has created a restaurant workers’ Covid-19 Crisis Relief Fund. Funds will be directed to establishing a relief fund for individual workers facing economic hardships or health crises as a direct result of Covid-19; providing zero-interest loans to businesses to assist in re-opening once this crisis has passed; and to supporting organizations leading on-the-ground efforts in the restaurant community. Nomikai Canned Wine has announced that 5 percent of all its online sales, as well as 5 percent of sales made through T. Edward Wines, will be donated to the RWCF.
*The United Sommeliers Foundation’s mission is to provide immediate financial assistance to Sommeliers who are experiencing a pause or termination of their employment due to circumstances beyond their control. A rapid response to the needs of the sommelier community in the U.S., the charity’s founding team includes a handful of Master Sommeliers, Masters of Wine, and other beverage professionals. Applications for funding and donations to the foundation are currently being accepted on their website.
*The United States Bartenders Guild, a 50-year old 501(c)(6) nonprofit that operates chapters in 50 cities in the United States, is providing grants to all bartenders and their families affected by Covid-19, regardless of membership status, through its Bartender Emergency Assistance Program (BEAP). Individuals looking to donate directly to the Covid-19 Relief Campaign can do so here. Jameson Irish Whiskey has pledged $500,000 to the fund directly and will match up to $100,000 in additional donations. Screwball Peanut Butter Whiskey and Steven Soderbergh’s Singani 63 have also donated $100,000 and $25,000, respectively, and data analytics company Sip Science has set up a GoFundMe, aiming to raise $100,000 for the program.
*Advocacy group One Fair Wage has started an emergency fund to provide cash assistance to any tipped worker and service worker affected by Covid-19. The organization hopes to provide $213 to as many eligible workers as possible — a number chosen to highlight the current $2.13 “sub-minimum wage” for tipped workers.
*The Dining Bonds Initiative from SupportRestaurants.org allows anyone to purchase gift certificates to participating restaurants at 25 percent below face value, to be redeemable at full value when the restaurants reopen, allowing the restaurants to receive both an influx of cash and a guarantee of future business.
*A nationwide group of American chefs has started a Save America’s Restaurants petition on Change.org, calling upon mayors, governors, and legislators nationwide to “engage with local industry leaders and restaurant associations immediately” to enact a “swift plan” to help bars and restaurants survive mandated closures. Actionable items include providing emergency employment benefits and endorsing rent and loan abatements for all workers affected, allowing takeout and delivery of wine, beer, and spirits, and waiving and/or altering zoning restrictions to allow bars and restaurants to be used as food and drinks markets for offsite consumption.
*The James Beard Foundation has launched the Food and Beverage Industry Relief Fund, to provide “micro-grants to independent food and beverage businesses in need.” Corporate donors include San Pellegrino, Patrón Tequila, Oat-ly, and White Claw. Donations of all sizes (up to $50,000) are accepted, and business and organizations may apply for a micro-grant here.
*Nonprofit group Another Round, Another Rally has set up a Pandemic Hospitality Relief Fund, which aims to raise $1.5 million, to be dispersed in $500 emergency fund block grants, to affected workers in the industry. (The website stresses that anyone — “dishwasher, bartender, server, busser, chef, cook, sommelier, manager, host, concierge, cleaning staff, or barback” — is eligible.) On March 19, Patrón Tequila announced it was donating $1 million to help the hospitality industry, some of which would be donated to Another Round, Another Rally. On March 30, Campari America announced it would also be donating $1 million to Another Round, Another Rally.
*The Children of Restaurant Employees (CORE) organization has pledged financial support to food and beverage service employees with children, who have tested positive for Covid-19. On March 19, Patrón Tequila announced it was donating $1 million to help the hospitality industry, some of which would be donated to CORE.
*Detroit-based drinks journalist Nick Britsky has started the website Go Tip ‘Em, which allows anyone to give tips to the bartenders who might otherwise be making their drinks. (Bartenders can join their database here.) “We are all stuck inside for the next few weeks. Let’s make the most of it,” explained Britsky.
*Data scientist Rachel Woods of The Wine Nerd and Erica Taylor of @uncorkified have started #SupportOurWineries, an initiative to help winemakers in the US and South Africa “thrive through social distancing.” In addition to a social media campaign promoted by @winebywhitney, @vinylsandvinos, and other industry insiders, #SupportOurWineries has an online platform where wineries can post current promotions and receive online orders or donations.
*With funding from Maker’s Mark bourbon, chef and restauranteur Edward Lee’s LEE Initiative has started a Restaurant Workers Relief Program, which has partnered with 14 restaurants nationwide to establish relief centers for hospitality workers and their families in need of food and supplies. For specific locations and hours, please see the LEE Initiative website.
*Auction site WineBid has teamed up with a group of ‘wine country professionals’ for the Wine Country for Restaurants auction series, to raise money for the Restaurant Workers Community Foundation’s Covid-19 Relief Fund. The first auction starts Sunday, April 5, and will run for one week. Lots are now live and include “unique, one-of-a-kind collections of wines” donated from numerous wineries of all sizes, as well as private collectors and restaurants. Half of all proceeds will be distributed directly to restaurant workers, and half will be evenly divided into 0% loans for restaurants in need, and other nonprofits serving restaurant workers and their families. New donated lots will go up for auction each Sunday. For more information, including how to donate, please see 86lostwages.org
*Napa, California’s Compline Wine Bar is offering sponsored lunches for first responders dealing with the Coronavirus crisis. All ingredients are sourced from local farms to help keep them in business while demand from other restaurants is low. For more information, including how to donate $20 for a meal, visit Compline’s Instagram page.
*Instagram co-founder Mike Krieger and his wife, philanthropist Kaitlyn Krieger, have started Save Our Faves, a directory of San Francisco small businesses, including bars and restaurants, offering gift card sales to help “ ‘flatten the curve’ of lost income from Covid-19.”
*Oregon food and agricultural worker charity Family Meal is providing a specific Covid-19 relief fund. “In light of how this pandemic has affected numerous people, it is our duty to issue as many grants as possible, while doing so responsibly and intelligently,” the nonprofit explained, encouraging anyone seeking assistance to apply for grants quickly “due to the volume of applications that we have received.”
*Houston chef Chris Shepherd’s 501(c)(3) nonprofit Southern Smoke Foundation has created an Emergency Relief Fund for food and beverage workers in crisis as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak.
*The Seattle Hospitality Emergency Fund has been set up on GoFundMe, aiming to raise at least $150,000 to help cover living costs for members of Seattle’s hospitality industry affected by Covid-19-related closures who are not otherwise being compensated, with a priority for “BIPOC, LGBTQIA+, disabled, and immunocompromised members of our community.”
*Since being temporarily shut down, Washington, D.C., beer hall Hook Hall has turned into a food and resource center for the hospitality industry, distributing food and care packages to workers whose schedules and pay have become reduced, inconsistent, or cancelled due to Covid-19-related shutdowns and closures. Hook Hall has partnered with the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington’s (RAMW) Educated Eats Foundation to create Hook Hall Helps fund to sustain its efforts, and is accepting donations and volunteer offers.
*Giving Kitchen, a non-profit “committed to serving Georgia’s food service community,” is offering financial assistance to food service workers and their immediate families facing medical crises or housing issues related to Covid-19, and providing a “stability network” of referrals to employment, financial, and legal services to anyone who doesn’t meet the criteria for direct immediate assistance. Giving Kitchen is accepting recurring or one-time direct donations.
*Danny Meyer announced on Instagram the Union Square Hospitality Group Giveback initiative, a relief fund for USHG team members. Meyer is donating his “entire compensation” to the fund, and other members of the USHG executive team are taking a “meaningful pay cut.” Additionally, 100 percent of all USHG gift card sales through March 24, 2020 will go to the fund. Employees who were laid off on March 18 (to enable them to claim unemployment insurance, according to a statement from Meyer) will still be eligible to receive funds generated through the Giveback initiative.
*The Charlottesville Restaurant Fund is looking to raise $10,000 on GoFundMe to help affected Charlottesville, Va., restaurant employees pay bills, get medication, transportation, and groceries. According to the GoFundMe, “Whether it’s a comforting meal after a tough day, a drink & convo when you need someone to listen, celebrating a special moment, or a coffee to start your day. Restaurants are there. Day and night. Night and day. It’s our turn to show up for them.”
*Nonprofit Sonoma Family Meal has created the Restaurant Disaster Relief Fund to help restaurants in Sonoma county, and around the country, stay open for disaster relief by providing meals to seniors and at-risk families. The fund has received a generous $150,000 donation from the John Jordan Foundation, and is looking to raise and additional $150,000 to help at least 20 restaurants remain open and make up to 100,000 meals for those in need. For more information, including how to donate, please visit sonomafamilymeal.org
*Contact your Senator or Congressional Representative and ask them to prioritize the needs of food, drink, and hospitality industry workers while crafting Covid-19 relief legislation. (Eater has a sample phone script.)
*Affected workers can consult this collected list of Unemployment Benefit Websites by State