Giving Kitchen Turns Up the Heat, Pledges to Serve Up $1 Million This Year

COVID-19 , Support Efforts , Industry News ,

Since March 10, 2020, GK has embraced their mission with clarity and purpose in order to assist Georgia food service workers with financial assistance as well as food service workers nationwide with Stability Network resources. As the pandemic surged through Georgia and the food service community, GK’s staff worked to serve 20 times the amount of clients who asked for help typically seen during the same timeframe the previous year. Even with the massive influx, every qualifying applicant that asked for help received financial assistance in two weeks or less.

One of those recipients is Janae’ Littlejohn who was diagnosed with COVID-19 in early March. She says, “I had shortness of breath... I felt like I couldn't breathe. I was almost scared to go to sleep because I didn't want to lay on my back, but the doctor that I spoke with was very adamant to stay home.” Littlejohn received financial assistance from GK in April. “I would not have been able to pay my rent - I was very scared. I thought that I was going to get evicted in the middle of all of this... I probably would have been homeless, if I'm being totally honest.”

GK kept the lights on for a line cook in mandatory COVID-19 quarantine, kept a concessions cashier battling cancer from being evicted and kept the water flowing for a bartender who had a heart attack - and that's just a few of the hundreds of people helped during this pandemic.

GK executive director Bryan Schroeder says, “In an instant, there were thousands of food service workers in need of assistance across Georgia. Our team recognized the crisis, rolled up our sleeves and went to work on behalf of our industry. I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished, how we’ve responded and how we’ve readied Giving Kitchen for growth – because we’re just getting started. We want all Georgians to know: Giving Kitchen helps food service workers. If you have a qualifying crisis, apply for help immediately because we have the funds to back you up.”

Since COVID-19 officially reached Georgia in early March, Giving Kitchen has provided $335,153 in financial assistance to 212 food service workers in crisis. Through GK’s Stability Network, they have made 2,933 resources referrals for clients. GK has no plans of slowing down, either. The 2019 James Beard Humanitarian of the Year Award-winning organization is announcing their goal of giving away $1 million in financial assistance by the end of 2020.

GK provides financial assistance to eligible Georgia food service workers who have experienced crisis due to an illness (including but not limited to COVID-19), injury, death of an immediate family member or a housing disaster (such as flood or fire). Food service workers have up to six months after their crisis occurs to ask GK for help at givingkitchen.org/help or in their GK mobile app.

As a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, Giving Kitchen depends on donations from the community, particularly those in the restaurant industry. However, GK is committed to not asking for a single dollar from restaurants this year, as they know the industry is struggling to get back on its feet. Generous financial gifts from Matt Ryan, Freddie Freeman, Coca-Cola, Anheuser-Busch, Georgia Natural Gas, Georgia Power, Tito’s Vodka, United Way of Greater Atlanta and Community Foundation of Greater Atlanta have been integral in making sure GK stays operational and available to serve our community.

Anyone interested in supporting GK’s continued fight during the pandemic and throughout the influx of food service workers asking for help in the coming months can do so at givingkitchen.org/support.

ABOUT GIVING KITCHEN:

Giving Kitchen (GK) is a James Beard award-winning nonprofit organization that provides emergency assistance to food service workers through financial support and a network of community resources in order to create a community where crisis is met with compassion and care, and anyone can be a hero. Since its inception, GK has helped over 6,000 food service workers in Georgia. GK’s shift starts when theirs can’t. For more about Giving Kitchen, visit givingkitchen.org, follow @givingkitchen and download the GK app (available on iPhone and Android).