As COVID-19 continues to make its way through the country, people are being told to stay home and small businesses are being forced to close their doors. Perhaps some of the hardest hit will be those in the service industry, as Louisiana bars and restaurants have been ordered to close until at least April 13. As a result, thousands of service industry employees now find themselves out of work and struggling to make ends meet. Below is a list of resources specifically designated to help mitigate the financial burden these employees may face at this time.
Second Harvest Food Bank: Second Harvest is responding to the coronavirus crisis by ramping up its efforts to feed residents of Orleans Parish who have been hit hardest. This includes an initiative to provide food assistance to all service industry workers through their extensive food pantry operation that has been serving the city for years. For more information, food service workers can dial 211, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
New Orleans Business Alliance Gig Economy Relief Fund: NOLABA is working to support gig economy workers by establishing a relief fund to support these employees' lost income. The organization has pledged an initial $100,000 to the fund, and hopes to increase this amount to at least $500,000.
SipScience: SipScience has set up a GoFundMe campaign to benefit the immediate financial needs of service workers across New Orleans in the wake of COVID-19, with the goal of raising at least $100,000. They are also providing tips for bartenders who are currently unemployed.
United Way of Southeast Louisiana Hospitality Cares Pandemic Response Fund: UWSELA is providing crisis grants to hospitality workers in order to help them afford basic financial needs. In partnership with Entergy, the organization has started up a fund with a combined $450,000, and is hoping to increase that amount through public and private donations.
NOLA Virtual Tip Jar: The Virtual Tip Jar allows people to donate directly to service industry employees by putting money straight in their pockets. Started by a former New Orleans service employee, the Tip Jar takes the form of a Google Doc that includes the Venmo, Cash App, and PayPal usernames of local service industry workers, creating a no-hassle way to make a difference.
New Orleans Tipping Party: Similar to the Virtual Tip Jar, the New Orleans Bartender Tip Party lists the Venmo usernames for local bartenders, so people can donate directly to help the city's workers get through this difficult time.
Go Fund Bean: Another virtual tipping platform, Go Fund Bean allows people to donate directly to local baristas. Check out their Instagram page for more details.
Greater New Orleans Foundation Service and Hospitality Family Assistance Program: This program is committed to providing service and hospitality workers who have been economically impacted by COVID-19 with grants of up to $1,000. Workers must apply to be considered for these grants. Those eligible include service and hospitality employees who have worked more than 32 hours per week prior to March 9, and whose household income was below 80% of the parish's area median income.
Culture Aid NOLA: A collaborative effort between MACCNO, NOMAF, No Hunger NOLA, Health Hospitality, and other local organizations, CAN is here to advocate for hospitality and culture workers that have been impacted by COVID-19. The group is working with multiple restaurants, management groups, suppliers and chefs to ensure that food service and entertainment workers have access to healthy food during this crisis. They are also providing Medicaid access navigation and advocacy for cultural groups.