LOUISVILLE, Ky. — A roster of organizations are uniting to provide support to Kentucky’s restaurant industry workers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

What You Need To Know

  • Kentucky nonprofits are organizing a relief grant to aid workers in the hospitality industry

  • Workers must prove they work at a locally-owned restaurant or bar, and provide paystub with their application

  • Funds will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis

  • Fund has garnered $100,000 so far

Gary Fox, president of Apron Inc., a Louisville-based nonprofit that offers critical support to independent restaurant industry workers, said those in the hospitality industry whose lives have been impacted by the pandemic can now seek a bit of relief. 

“The need right now is just overwhelming with the restaurants shut down for three weeks. People aren’t able to pay rent or maybe can’t feed their kids, so this was sort of a no brainer,” Fox said.

"It breaks my heart that it’s probably going to be a lot more need than we're able to fill," Fox added.

That’s why Republic National Distributing Company (RNDC), beverage maker Brown-Forman, and Apron Inc. are establishing grant funds for 2,000 local restaurant and bar employees to buy groceries.

Simone Bianconchini, vice president of sales at RNDC in Louisville, said the grant is "incredibly important."

"They don’t have a huge safety net so for us to be able to provide them and their families some groceries as they go into the holidays is incredibly important," Bianconchini said.

Bianconchini said the one-time grant is the latest lifeline for industry workers who are still seeing fewer than half the customer traffic they were used to.

“Our hope is that the holidays are a little bit happier and that everybody gets a nice meal on us and can hopefully celebrate this holiday season without having to worry about one more thing,” they said.

The initiative has garnered $100,000 in financial assistance that may otherwise be hard to come by during this challenging holiday season.

“It’s something that’s way beyond our means to tackle but were happy to do whatever it is we possibly can and Brown-Forman and Republic National Distributing Company have really helped us with that,” Fox said.

Grants from the fund will be awarded on a first-come first-served basis to those who meet the eligibility criteria. 

Workers must provide proof that they have worked at a locally-owned restaurant or bar in the last six months. Workers must also provide a paystub of employment with their application. 

“What is usually a very lucrative time of the year has become actually an unproductive time of the year for them so we’re hoping this is a boost,” explains Bianconchini.

More information on how to apply for the grant funding can be found here.