Since the pandemic started, we’ve seen an outpouring of generosity through our Donate-A-Box program from you, our amazing Farmhouse family and friends. Through this program, we’ve been able to offer support to farmers, healthcare workers, youth program leaders, career assistance programs and so many more. This month, all Donate-A-Box contributions will go to an incredible organization whose mission is to help unemployed restaurant workers and owners not only navigate the challenges that COVID-19 has presented to their industry, but also give displaced employees an opportunity to give back to their community doing what they do best: feeding the people of Austin. Meet Good Work Austin.
There are no two ways about it, the service and restaurant industry has suffered devastating losses in the wake of the pandemic, including thousands without jobs, dozens of business owners closing their doors, and no clear solution on the horizon. The financial, health, and emotional impact is enormous. Good Work Austin (GWA) is a collective of over 40 of Austin’s most beloved locally-owned restaurants – like L’Oca d’Oro, Suerte, and Bufalina – who have joined forces to solve some of these overwhelming challenges. Together, they are working to provide a slew of solutions to problems that affect the industry right now: offering access to subsidized mental health counseling and to a direct primary care clinic to displaced employees, advocating at the local & state level for the policies that will help the industry survive and recover, and creating jobs to cook and deliver meals to Austin community members who need them most. It’s a massive undertaking – both uncharted and necessary.
In mid-May, GWA started their Food Access Program, a dual-benefit program that provides jobs for displaced cooks and service workers to make and deliver meals to various Austin populations in need: AISD caregivers, homeless populations, and seniors. So far, the program has been able to rehire over 100 previously out-of-work employees, packaging 25k-30k meals every week for 18-30 AISD locations, 3 meals/day for up to 90 quarantined homeless people, and distribute meals for seniors for 4 weeks in September and October.
With continued donations and support, by the end of 2020, GWA hopes to be able to utilize 15-20 restaurants and 300 employees to prepare up to 35k meals per week for Austin’s communities in need, totaling an approximate $200k/week put back into the Austin economy. It’s been said that the benefit we receive from doing good work is the opportunity to do even better work, and Good Work Austin is showing us exactly what that can look like.