CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Restaurants across the country have been struggling ever since the outbreak of coronavirus. The National Restaurant Association says sales across the country were down 47 percent in the month of March. Data for April so far is not out yet.
The owner of Dilworth Neighborhood Grille, Matt Wholfarth, said he definitely felt that decline, and that’s why he is happy to take any deliveries he can.
“We went from 63 people down to eight,” Wohlfarth said.
Wholfarth said he had to cut so many people because they were forced to close their dining room due to social distancing. Thanks to dine-out options and groups like Feed the Front Line Charlotte however, they have been able to hire some people back.
“Slowly we have been coming back, we are probably up to 25 working again,” Wohlfarth said.
Feed the Front Line Charlotte is a nonprofit that gathers donations and then gives those to local restaurants so they can supply meals for healthcare workers in Charlotte.
“My sister is a doctor at John Hopkins, so I have heard a lot of the frontline stories of the struggles they are facing,” Feed the Front Line Charlotte member, Matthew Conley said.
Conley and Jenna Brunner helped start the group Feed the Front Line Charlotte with a few others. Conley said his sister’s stories inspired him to take action.
“What I have heard from her is that there is additional stress getting in and out of the hospitals because there is more protocol in place,” Conley said.
So instead of workers having to leave for a meal, they bring the food to them.
“We tell them, okay we have this many meals we can deliver on this day and we let them decide what department needs it the most and whether it will be a lunch or dinner,” Feed the Front Line Charlotte member, Jenna Brunner said.
Saturday, the group delivered to workers at Atrium Health in Charlotte. They gave $1,000 in donations to Dilworth Neighborhood Grille for about 100 meals.
“We didn’t know them, they didn’t know us,” Wohlfarth said. “How great is this that people are coming together and they don’t even have any idea who they are helping. They are just helping because that is the right thing to do.”
Feed the Front Line Charlotte hopes to expand to include a broader range of healthcare workers and more restaurants, and they are asking for more donations to help. For more information click here.