Comfort In Athens

From the beginning, the power of a compelling “story” has propelled the Giving Kitchen. Here, we feature the story of Shannon Brown, served by a Direct Grant because of an injury.


In July of 2017, our friends at Creature Comforts Brewing Co. hosted a remarkable evening--a 10-course dinner with chefs from Athens and Atlanta collaborating to turn out exquisite plates for a gathering of 100 diners. The Athens Chefs Collaboration Dinner II raised over $12,000 for GK. Course after course, the collective chefs fired one beautiful dish after another. There was an audible buzz as each course entered the room, each served family style to the tables spread across the brewery-floor-turned-fine-dining-restaurant. Glasses were raised, hearts full. But for many, the unforgettable experience arrived not on a platter, but as a simple story told by two Athens area restaurant employees.

One year before this particular night, an Athens restaurant worker named Amanda had attended the inaugural version of the same dinner, learning about the Giving Kitchen on a similarly remarkable evening. Little did Amanda know that she would soon be referring a co-worker and friend in need.

Amanda’s friend Shannon has worked in the restaurant industry for much of the past two decades. Late last year, her car was hit. She needed surgery to repair a broken collarbone. And follow-up surgeries after that. Working in her condition was not advised. She has made it through, but not without difficulty, and GK is incredibly proud to count her among our grantees. This is the story she shared with those gathered in Athens:

I’ve been in and out of the restaurant business for about 20 years, from being a server to actually owning my own restaurant. Last year, I suffered a broken collarbone in a car accident. I had two surgeries but decided to work through football season [this is Athens we’re talking about]... then I found a surgeon who said I would need at least two more surgeries and would be out of work approximately three months.

The downside to the restaurant business is that workers don’t have much of a safety net--there’s often no insurance provided, so if tragedy does happen, you don’t have much to fall back on. So that’s when I reached out to the Giving Kitchen.

My first surgery was in February and my second in May, and I had some complications, so I’ve been out of work longer than anticipated. But without the grant from the Giving Kitchen, I’m not sure I could have made it for the nearly five months I’ve been out of work.

You never know what’s going to happen, and in the blink of an eye, your life can change. Luckily, I work with a great company, I still have my job, but it’s very difficult if you don’t have the safety net that most other jobs have. People suffer tragedy every single day, and GK is an excellent organization... The money they provided help me pay my bills, helped me keep a roof over my head and without them, I’m not sure what I would have done.

Shannon needed emergency assistance because of an injury. Learn more about our program services, our Direct Grants and the specifics of our grants based on injury here