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Press Release: Hurricane Irma Emergency Assistance Fund

By September 15, 2017 No Comments

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, September 15, 2017 

The Giving Kitchen announces Hurricane Irma Emergency Assistance Fund, with expanded statewide coverage for Georgia restaurant workers

Due to the significant impact of Hurricane/Tropical Storm Irma on restaurant workers across Georgia, The Giving Kitchen (TGK) has launched a new grant program to assist workers in need – the Hurricane Irma Emergency Assistance Fund. This new fund expands TGK’s coverage from the 40 counties surrounding Atlanta to the entire state of Georgia, greatly enhancing TGK’s ability to provide relief to those most acutely feeling the effects of Irma. Grants for restaurant workers who qualify will provide $500 to help them through this challenging time.

“We know that restaurant workers are often among those hit hardest by natural disaster,” says TGK executive director Bryan Schroeder, “both in sheer numbers and in severity of impact. Hearing stories of hardship from restaurant workers here in Atlanta and especially on the coast, we knew we had to do something to build on the programs TGK already has in place for disaster relief. This new Hurricane Irma Emergency Assistance Fund greatly increases our coverage area, expands the types of hardships we can address, and also simplifies the process for restaurant workers facing immediate need. FEMA has a ‘Waffle House Index’ for a reason – restaurant workers are key to a community’s return to normalcy – we want to make sure they know we have their back.”

As Irma was about to hit Georgia earlier this week, “CheFarmer” Matthew Raiford of Brunswick, GA, restaurant The Farmer & The Larder happened to be in Atlanta for the Chefs Collaborative Summit, a national gathering addressing topics of community and sustainability in restaurants. Of course, talk turned to helping those in need due to Irma, and Raiford continued to provide valuable reports from the coast throughout the week. “I’m so deeply honored by the outpouring of support,” he said. “For me, not even knowing something like this existed, and to see someone in our community – from outside of our community – jump in so quickly to help us has been the most amazing and humbling experience of my life. It’s already hard to ask for help, normally, and you’re afraid because you don’t know they can help you. This is incredible. Our employees need help. Meeting at the Chefs Collaborate couldn’t have been more amazing.”

Since the inception of TGK’s Direct Crisis Grants programs, the organization has helped Atlanta area restaurant workers impacted by unforeseen circumstances such as illness, injury, natural disasters, or the death of an immediate family member. Natural disasters have been a small percentage of grants awarded thus far, but Hurricane Irma presented a clear need. This is the first time TGK has expanded its crisis grant programs outside the Metro Atlanta / Athens area, and the new Hurricane Irma Emergency Assistance Fund also expands the qualifying criteria for natural disaster relief to include the following:

Any Georgia restaurant worker who needs emergency assistance due to Hurricane/Tropical Storm Irma under any of the following circumstances:

  1. Is homeless due to their house/apartment/etc. sustaining damage and being uninhabitable.
  2. Is injured due to the storm and unable to work for a week or more.
  3. Ability to work was impacted by a mandatory evacuation (restaurant must be located in one of the mandatory evacuation areas as set by the state of Georgia: all of Camden county, plus Bryan, Liberty, McIntosh, and Glynn County east of Interstate I-95, with some exceptions) and is facing a financial hardship. See map of mandatory evacuation area provided by the state of Georgia.

To qualify, applicants must have worked at least 20 hrs. per week in a Georgia restaurant for the month of August 2018. All applicants will be required to provide a statement of financial need, pay-stubs or similar documentation proving employment, and notes from relevant parties to establish qualification as noted above (such as restaurant management, landlord, or doctor). As is done for all TGK Crisis Grants, verification will be completed to ensure qualification.

The Hurricane Irma Emergency Assistance Fund is not meant to replace benefits available through FEMA or other federal and state disaster relief programs, but rather to quickly provide relief to restaurant workers facing immediate hardship. TGK will be seeking donations to help support this expanded relief program, which has the potential to significantly increase the number of restaurant workers in crisis that TGK supports. Over the past four years, TGK has provided over $1.5 million in grants to over 750 recipients in the 40 counties around the Atlanta metro area and Athens.

More detail on the Hurricane Irma Emergency Assistance Fund is available at www.thegivingkitchen.org/irma, including links for the following:


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