CHICAGO — Chicago’s hard hit restaurant industry is helping to feed their out-of-work employees during a time when many haven’t been paid in weeks due to the coronavirus pandemic.
With increasing concern about the vulnerability of laid off workers, chef Edward Lee, a local restaurant group and Americans Airlines teamed up to provide relief to the community.
“There’s a lot of people out there, they don’t have any income, they don’t have any savings, and they don’t have any food,” said Greg Mohr, Fifty/50 Restaurant Group. “So, we’re here to feed them with some groceries and we’re open every day. We’re here for them as much as they need us.”
Mohr and his group were preparing meals Thursday at the West Town Bakery for unemployed restaurant workers who are often ineligible for unemployment benefits.
American Airlines donated 5,400 pounds of food towards the cause and some workers volunteered to unload the delivery.
“The reason we have this surplus of food is because there is a reduced travel demand and there’s no better time to take care of our customers and take care of our team members right here in Chicago,” said Gianna Urgo, American Airlines.
“We’re putting out as many meals as we can. Sometimes well over 1,000 meals a day. When we get donations from vendors or American Airlines, it allows us to substantially increase the amount of meals that we’re serving,” said Scott Weiner, Fifty/50 Restaurant Group.
More than 300,000 restaurant workers have lost their jobs statewide this month alone, according to Sam Toia, President of the Illinois Restaurant Association.
According to some estimates, close to 66% of the restaurant industry in the United States is currently unemployed.
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