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Schultz Family Foundation Provides Food Worker Payments with #ThePlateFund

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Coalition of restaurants, foundations, organisations and individuals to help restaurant workers by asking the public to help serve those who served them by donating

Schultz Family Foundation Provides Food Worker Payments with #ThePlateFund

A coalition of Greater Seattle restaurants, foundations, organisations and individuals announced today the creation of #ThePlateFund, an initiative to provide emergency financial assistance to restaurant and food-service workers who have lost jobs and income due to business disruptions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. The fund, created by the Schultz Family Foundation in partnership with #allinseattle, Seattle Foundation and UpTogether, launches with $4 million in seed funding and has a goal to reach as many in-need restaurant workers as possible in King County. Members of the community are encouraged to join the effort and help their neighbours in need by donating at The Plate Fund website.

#ThePlateFund will provide immediate, one-time payments of $500 to restaurant workers hardest hit by the Covid-19 crisis, prioritising the most vulnerable and in- need individuals in the restaurant community so they can quickly pay for essentials such as food, medicine, transportation, baby products and other expenses. Individuals may apply for assistance from #ThePlateFund via a mobile-enabled website, without having to leave their homes. 

When COVID-19 hit the Seattle area, more than 100,000 people were employed at some 5,000 food establishments in King County. Most restaurants have been forced to close or reduce operations, laying off some or all of their employees. 

A vast majority of line cooks, wait staff, dishwashers, bartenders and other restaurant and food-service industry employees rely on every pay check, as well as tips, to support themselves and their families. Many have already depleted their savings and find themselves without money as they wait for federal stimulus payments and unemployment insurance benefits, which may not arrive for several weeks or months. The fund is also intended to assist restaurant workers who will not qualify for unemployment insurance or the federal stimulus payment because of immigration status or other issues. 

While most restaurant owners are doing everything they can to help their people through the crisis, the situation is especially challenging for single-location establishments and smaller businesses. 

Any restaurant or food-service worker that has experienced a reduction in hours or been laid off as a result of the COVID-19 crisis can apply for assistance from #ThePlateFund. To qualify, applicants are required to provide proof that they live in King County; confirm that they have experienced a reduction of hours or been laid off; and upload a recent pay stub via photo or other means, showing they have an annual gross pay of less than $62,000, inclusive of tips. #ThePlateFund will also provide electronic codes for restaurant owners to distribute directly to workers who are in the greatest need. 

The need is enormous. While the fund will not be able to assist all workers who have been negatively affected by this crisis, it will continue to raise money to broaden its reach as the crisis continues. The fund is designed to provide emergency bridge payments to cash-strapped restaurant workers until they are able to receive unemployment insurance and/or federal stimulus payments, if they are eligible. The fund is also intended to serve as a complement to other community-led COVID-19 relief initiatives in King County. 

“We can help bridge the gap between the time workers received their last pay checks and the time they access government-provided payments and benefits. For some, this may be the only assistance they receive,” said Sheri Schultz, president of the Schultz Family Foundation. “All of us have a responsibility to help those in need during this unprecedented crisis. With #ThePlateFund, we have an opportunity to serve those who contribute to the vibrancy of our community, and now need a lifeline. We are grateful that so many are coming forward to help.” 

The application process and electronic payments for #ThePlateFund are being administered by UpTogether, a digital capital exchange platform created by the Family Independence Initiative and made available through the #GiveTogetherNow campaign. 

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Categories: Restaurants, Retail and Restaurants

Sid Lee, Mon, 06 Apr 2020 16:49:30 GMT