COVID-19: New relief fund launches to help Vancouver hospitality industry in need of financial assistance

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      With all B.C. restaurants, cafes, and bars required to shut down its dine-in services due to COVID-19, a lot of people working in the food-and-beverage are out of jobs.

      Even with some dining spots operating just for takeout and delivery, businesses aren’t able to employ most of its staff.

      According to WorkBC, the food-services and drinking-places industry accounted for 6.5 percent of the province’s workforce in 2019, which amounts to more than 160,000 jobs.

      That’s why the Vancouver Food and Beverage Community Relief Fund (VFBC Relief Fund) has been launched, in efforts to support hospitality individuals in critical need of short-term financial assistance.

      Spearheaded by industry veterans like Abdallah El Chami (chef and partner of Superbaba), Puneet Kochar (head of finance at Tacofino), and Taylor Chobotiuk (head of people and engagement at Tacofino), the small team will be adding more coordinators to ensure accountability in reviewing applications, funds delivery, and operations.

      The VFBC Relief Fund is calling out to the community for donations, emphasizing that many talented and creative minds in Metro Vancouver and Vancouver Island’s food-and-beverage scene have been affected by the pandemic.

      “So many of them are out of work and face a dire situation. Even with employment insurance, a large population is living near or under the poverty line, making it difficult to purchase basic essentials,” El Chami said in a press statement. “This is our call for help so that we can help them a little bit to get by right now.”

      All money raised will be distributed among industry workers impacted by COVID-19, who may require urgent financial relief. Those who apply will be able to access relief funds ranging from $25 to $150 to use toward basic necessities, including groceries, bill payments, rent, and medical prescriptions, among other things.

      “We had to do something to help our friends, neighbours, and family,” said Chobotiuk. “They are the backbone of the industry.” 

      For more information on the VFBC Relief Fund and how to donate, click here.

      Follow Tammy Kwan on Twitter @ch0c0tam and Instagram @ch0c0tam.