We don’t need to reiterate here just how hard-hit the restaurant industry is by the COVID-19 crisis and subsequent shutdown of dining rooms nationwide. But we would like to reiterate our firm stance on Food Network figurehead Guy Fieri: he is good, and when there’s an opportunity to help the community, he seemingly always steps up.
Last month, the National Restaurant Association Education Foundation launched the Restaurant Employee Relief Fund to support those impacted by coronavirus-related restaurant closures. According to the NRA’s website, with the money raised by the relief fund, “Restaurant employees can apply online to receive a one-time, $500 check to use toward bills, including housing, transportation, utilities, childcare, groceries, medical bills and/or student loans. The Foundation will administer the grants, offered on a first-come, first-served basis.” (You can make a donation to the fund here, or apply for a grant here.) Fieri hopped on board the fundraising immediately, reaching out to corporate donors via “personal video invitations to all the heavy-hitter CEOs that are involved in the restaurant business” and asking them to lend their support to the cause.
In a new interview with TMZ, Fieri announced that the fund has raised over $21.5 million so far to help affected restaurant industry workers—all in under two months. That amounts to more than 40,000 individual grants distributed so far.
“As long as the money comes in, we’re going to continue to give these grants,” he told TMZ. And naturally, when asked about the state of the restaurant industry going forward, the Mayor of Flavortown—nay, the king of Flavortown—ended the interview on a characteristically rousing note: “Just looking and listening and hearing what’s going on, I think people are going to be fired up, gung ho, and ready to get out there and visit their restaurants a lot more than they were prior to the pandemic.”