National Restaurant Association research found that between March 1 and March 22, the restaurant industry lost more than 3 million jobs and $25 billion in sales.

As millions of out-of-work restaurant employees seek financial help during the coronavirus health crisis, the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation is offering assistance through its Restaurant Employee Relief Fund.

The Fund, which launched April 2, grants eligible applicants a one-time payment of $500 to use toward bills, including housing, transportation, utilities, childcare, groceries, medical bills and/or student loans.

Contributions are coming in, but more is needed

In the less than two weeks since the NRAEF launched the fund, it has raised more than $15 million in corporate and individual donations. RERF supporters include: Uber Eats, TikTok, Constellation Brands, PepsiCo, Wingstop Restaurants Inc., Cargill, Moët Hennessy USA, The Coca-Cola Co., Robin Hood Foundation, Ecolab, Shift4 Payments, the Boston Beer Company, Angry Orchard, Truly Hard Seltzer, Martignetti Companies, Golden Road Brewing, Gas South, Tyson Foodservice, P&G Professional, Food Network, United HealthCare, Ventura Foods, Rich Products, Evil Geniuses, The Trotter Project, Hormel, the Elliot Group, Davis Wright Tremaine LLP, Bragard USA Inc., Light Foundation, Igloo Coolers, QUI Platinum Extra and Añejo Tequila.

Celebrity chef/restaurateur Guy Fieri, who helped the Foundation launch the fundraising campaign, is now promoting it nationwide, and encouraging everyone to make a donation. He has appeared on national TV broadcasts, including ABC-TV, Fox News, MSNBC, and CNBC; online media outlets, such as People magazine, Forbes, The Daily Beast, Restaurant Business and Nation’s Restaurant News; and on a number of social media channels.

National Restaurant Association research has found that between March 1 and March 22, the restaurant industry lost more than 3 million jobs and $25 billion in sales. The national survey discovered that 70% of restaurant owners have had to lay off employees or cut hours. An updated survey is currently underway; click here to participate.

“The restaurant industry has been devastated by the economic impact of the coronavirus crisis, and millions of restaurant employees are out of work due to forced business closures,” said Foundation President Rob Gifford. “This fund was designed to help those struggling employees.”

To donate, visit rerf.us and follow the NRAEF on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram for updates.