WASHINGTON, D.C., October 5, 2020, The restaurant industry has taken a hard hit during the COVID-19 pandemic. One organization working to address the issue is World Central Kitchen (WCK), a global nonprofit organization that uses the power of food to heal communities and strengthen economies during times of crisis and beyond. WCK’s “Restaurants for the People” program has already disbursed over $100 million to over 2,000 restaurants in 35 different states and territories across the nation. As of this week, the SGN Community has donated more than $200,000 to WCK’s work, including match funding from The Starbucks Foundation, through a partnership coordinated by 5th Element.
The restaurant industry is the second largest employer in the nation, with over 15 million workers. When the pandemic struck, not only did millions lose jobs, but the economy suffered. The National Restaurant Association has estimated that during typical business, before the pandemic struck, every dollar spent in the restaurant industry contributed more than two dollars to a given state’s economy. During this time of crisis, those dollars likely travel even farther.
World Central Kitchen’s Restaurants for the People program helps fight the food problems caused by COVID-19 in two ways: not only does the program put money into the restaurant industry itself via the purchase of meals, but also by giving those meals to those who are suffering from hunger during this time of hardship. The program has already donated over 10 million meals.
“World Central Kitchen’s partnerships with local restaurants is a classic example of an innovative omniwin solution, enabling donors to support workers and small businesses as well as people and communities in need,” said Jim Van Eerden, CEO of 5th Element.
The SGN Store, created by Some Good News, is managed by Sevenly.org, which donates all proceeds from purchases of Some Good Merch to organizations including World Central Kitchen. These donations are then matched by The Starbucks Foundation, which has committed to match up to $1 million of SGN Store donations for COVID-19 relief efforts through the end of the year. This partnership between SGN and The Starbucks Foundation is coordinated by 5th Element Group.
Restaurants in over 300 cities across the nation have been saved by the program. Take for example La Fonda Boricua, in Harlem, which was able to go from four staff members when the pandemic began to 11 with the help of World Central Kitchen. Or take WCK’s partnership in Milwaukee with restaurant The Tandem.
“The Tandem’s partnership with World Central Kitchen isn’t just helping us and our staff of 6,” said Caitlin Cullen, head chef and owner, “but also 40 restaurants in Milwaukee that might not survive without the help your funding is providing!”