In response to massive layoffs in the hospitality industry due to the COVID-19 outbreak nationwide, Chef Edward Lee, in partnership with The LEE Initiative and Maker’s Mark, launched The Restaurant Workers Relief Program. This program started on Tuesday, March 17 out of the catering kitchen of Lee’s restaurant, 610 Magnolia, and was able to serve over 400 individuals in the restaurant industry who had recently become unemployed.
The response from the community inspired other chefs around the country, including Big Star Wicker Park's Paul Kahan, to create similar programs, working directly with The LEE Initiative and Maker’s Mark. Restaurant workers must bring in proof of recent employment (paystubs will suffice) and will receive hot meals, toiletries, cleaning supplies, diapers, formula, personal hygiene items, and more. Times, days and exact details vary between relief centers.
Most of these relief centers are funded for the next two weeks but are hoping to be able to stay open longer with donations via www.leeinitiative.org.