5 Hospitality Worker Grants for Those Impacted by the Coronavirus Pandemic

This photo shows an aerial photo of the strip at Pass-a-Grille beach in St. Petersburg, Fla.
Beaches in Florida’s Pinellas County are closed under a county-wide stay-at-home order due to the COVID-19 pandemic, including Pass-a-Grille Beach in St. Petersburg, Fla. Restaurants are also closed or offering only take out, putting a strain on many hospitality workers. Chris Zuppa/The Penny Hoarder

The coronavirus pandemic has taken a toll on the American economy, and restaurants and bars have been particularly hard hit. Usually full of diners, with stay-at-home orders in place in the majority of states, those same businesses sit empty night after night. 

While many of the restaurants have tried to make ends meet by continuing to do carryout and curbside orders, it’s simply not enough for some. Bars can’t even do that if they don’t serve food. So what do they do? They need to let some workers go or at the very least cut hours dramatically. This has caused a remarkable hardship to many workers in the hospitality industry. 

That’s where big hearts come in. 

Some organizations are raising money to help hospitality workers who are facing financial hardship due to the coronavirus pandemic. Here are a few hospitality worker grants we have found.  

5 Grants for Hospitality Workers

These six organizations are doing what they can to help hospitality workers out financially.

1. Restaurant Workers’ Community Foundation COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund

The Restaurant Workers’ Community Foundation (RWCF) calls itself “an advocacy and action nonprofit created by and for restaurant workers.” To help out individuals, businesses and non-profits within the industry have raised nearly $4 million so far. They are using 50% of that money to directly help restaurant workers who are struggling due to the COVID-19 crisis. The application form, through Southern Smoke, is extensive, but the group claims that its average grant is around $2,000. 

2. One Fair Wage

One Fair Wage (OFW) is an advocate for fair wages for tipped hospitality workers. It is trying to raise $213,000 to provide help to “tipped restaurant workers, delivery drivers, personal service workers and others affected by the coronavirus.” As of this writing, the group had raised just over $90,000. The OFW Emergency Fund application is pretty straight forward. Once you’ve completed the form, they claim that they will call you to discuss your situation.

3. The Seasoned Relief Project

Do you want to share your story of how COVID-19 has affected you and your life? The Seasoned Relief Project is offering restaurant workers a chance to do just that and receive a $100 “tip” for the effort. To share your story, download the Seasoned app. Once you’ve entered your story you’ll be contacted via direct message by a member of their team. Answer a few questions, share a recent pay stub, and you’ll receive your $100 via Paypal, Venmo or Cashapp.

4. USBG Bartender Emergency Assistance Program

The USBG Foundation is trying to take care of our friends behind the bar. For bartenders or the spouses or children of a bartender, the USBG Bartender Emergency Assistance Program has raised $6.5 million to help out during this time. Check out the application page for detail. The grant award is determined on a case by case basis.

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5. Children of Restaurant Employees

Core: Children of Restaurant Employees is an organization that is dedicated to helping food and beverage service employees with children. Due to high demand, they are focusing on qualifying individuals who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or have a family member in the household who has tested positive, Documentation is required. If you believe you qualify, you can apply online and your case will be evaluated.

Regional Organizations

Beyond the national organizations that are raising money to help out hospitality workers in need, there are many more that operate on the state or local level. You can find some of those resources on Restaurant Business Online’s state-by-state guide to COVID-19 resources.

Tyler Omoth is a contributor to The Penny Hoarder.