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Industry Impact

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Messages from Dawn Sweeney and Richie Jackson

Sept. 6, 2017

In the wake of the largest disaster in Texas history, restaurants across America have stepped up to support communities affected by the catastrophic inland flooding caused by Hurricane Harvey.

Harvey has displaced tens of thousands of people and caused billions of dollars in damages, with much of the damage sustained by those without insurance. As the area recovers, even small restaurant businesses without structural damage are facing economic hardship, as are their employees.

We are asking for your continued support.

Thousands of you have asked us how you can help.

Restaurants Respond is a joint project of the Texas Restaurant Association and National Restaurant Association. It’s not an organization. It’s simply a group of associations, restaurants, foodservice companies and their employees and guests from across the country that are coming together in the wake of Harvey to help those affected by catastrophic events, especially restaurant employees.

We recommend supporting several charities that are particularly interested in restoring the lives of the restaurant employees affected by Harvey: Children of Restaurant Employees (CORE), the Houston Food Bank, and the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund. Depending on the charity, funds will go to people who need nutritious food; restaurant employees with children or dependents who need gas cards, clothing, medical expenses, mortgage or rent; and even stipends for Harvey victims who need replacement vehicles. Find out more about these groups.

Here’s how you can help:

1. If you are in the restaurant industry, ask your fellow owners and operators, employees and guests to join us. Refer them to RestaurantsRespond.com.

2. Host your own giving event to raise funds for one of the charities listed above, or donate directly.

3. Let us know what you are doing. Numerous restaurants and foodservice businesses across the country are donating to Hurricane Harvey recovery efforts. Let us know what you’re doing so we can track and aggregate the industry’s impact – not just on the charities above, but on all recovery efforts by our industry.

We’re supporting the hurricane-affected restaurant community in other ways as well. In the nation’s capital, the National Restaurant Association has taken a lead role in urging Congress, the White House, and federal agencies such as the Small Business Administration to support recovery efforts.

As Texas begins its recovery, our thoughts and prayers now also include our restaurant brothers and sisters in Florida, Puerto Rico and the Caribbean as they brace for Hurricane Irma’s impact.  

Richie Jackson Dawn Sweeney
CEO President and CEO
Texas Restaurant Association National Restaurant Association

Aug. 31, 2017

Restaurants serve – and that’s never more true than when disaster strikes.

Our hearts go out to everyone who has been affected by the overwhelming tragedy of Hurricane Harvey in Southeastern Texas and neighboring areas. The National Restaurant Association mourns the lives lost and our thoughts and prayers are with everyone who has been displaced as well as with the brave men and women who are still working on rescue operations to this day.

The folks at the Texas Restaurant Association have been working 24/7 with their members since Hurricane Harvey came ashore last Friday. They’ve been collecting and sharing news about restaurants and are collaborating with federal, state and local agencies to help restaurant operators and their employees get back on their feet, apply for disaster loans, file insurance claims, and safely reopen their locations. TRA offers extensive information at TXRestaurant.org/Harvey. As the storm moves on from Texas, restaurant associations in other states are preparing as well.

Our partners in Texas say the restaurant community will bounce back quickly as power returns and roadways reopen. That’s not to say there won’t be challenges – there will. Wages have been lost, business has stopped for many, property damage will run into the billions of dollars, and many in the Texas restaurant family have been displaced. But there’s a reason they say “Don’t mess with Texas:” Texans are resilient, even in the face of the worst natural disaster in the state’s history.

As the waters begin to recede and the real recovery work begins, the Texas restaurant community will be better able to assess the needs on the ground – and will be turning to the most generous industry in the nation for help. The National Restaurant Association and TRA are working closely to marshal the industry’s support.

In the meantime, we are humbled by the efforts underway by restaurants nationwide. National foodservice companies and suppliers have come forward with financial help. Independent restaurant operators throughout the country are working with their customers to raise funds. The Louisiana Restaurant Association, all too familiar with devastation of this magnitude, worked with the Commander’s Family of Restaurants and others to set up a relief fund for Harvey-affected hospitality employees.

Countless restaurant businesses have pitched in to feed first responders, raise funds and collect supplies for people displaced by the storms. Additionally, the National Restaurant Association and TRA are coordinating a national relief effort to help hurricane victims and restaurant employees affected by the disaster. We are finalizing plans and will announce more information about the effort immediately after Labor Day. For ongoing information on the efforts, visit Restaurant.org/HarveyHelp.

The enduring message in all of this is that we are a community, pulling together to help in need. And when the call comes, restaurants always answer.

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