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Spanglish and Grails are feeding Miami's hospitality community and first responders.
Spanglish and Grails are feeding Miami's hospitality community and first responders.
Photo by Daniella Mía

How to Help Miami's Hospitality Community During the Coronavirus Crisis

These are unprecedented times we're living in, and the novel coronavirus pandemic continues to affect all aspects of daily life around the world.

Miami is a vibrant city that thrives on hospitality and tourism, but with the recent mandate of business closures to contain the spread of the virus, many restaurants and bars that have helped create such a diverse landscape are in dire need of assistance.

It's time for people to come together to support one another through this challenging period because, in the end, that's what true hospitality is about. Here are some ways you can lend a helping hand, donate, advocate, and partner up.

Join the national call to action

Chicago restaurateurs and chefs have organized a call for an aid package to assist restaurants during the coronavirus crisis. They are planning a nationwide social media campaign to go live at 11 a.m. EDT and are asking for all restaurant industry professionals to join them. To participate, make a sign bearing the hashtag #TooSmallToFail and hold it in front of yourself while you take a video reading the following message and post it on social media: "This week, millions of restaurant workers suddenly lost their jobs. You can help. Please call your representative and senators and insist that help be given — not just to big corporations, but to independent businesses as well. This is the only way to protect the people and places you love. We simply will not make it without your help." In the caption of the post, you can ask for a call to action from your local congresspeople and senators. Call the U.S. Capitol switchboard at 202-224-3121 and demand that independent businesses are part of the federal stimulus plan.

Assist with the Common Threads spring break initiative for students of healthcare workers

Common Threads is working with Miami-Dade County Public Schools to implement its Spring Break Initiative. It will provide breakfast, lunch, and a snack to 120 children of Miami's healthcare workers next week during each day of the previously scheduled spring break. Common Threads is in need of support to cover the meal costs and ensure restaurants are able to mitigate the loss of any revenue. They will provide delivery for 40 students at three sites — in north, central, and south Miami-Dade — from Monday, March 23 through Friday, March 27. Restaurants and catering companies can help by committing to deliver prepared breakfast, lunch, and a snack to 40 kids as many days as possible during the seven-day campaign. They are also looking for staff members to help deliver the meals to the three selected sites. Email mchacin@commonthreads.org, or call or text 786-316-3273 to join the initiative.

Donate to the Bartender Emergency Assistance Program

The United States Bartenders' Guild (USBG) is a national charitable foundation that has chapters in cities across the nation, including Miami, to support the hospitality community. In a continuation of these efforts, the USBG has launched the COVID-19 Relief Campaign and asks that people "help us serve those who serve us." The nationwide food and beverage venue closures have left many bartenders without the ability to earn tips and wages. Taking it a step further, Jameson Irish Whiskey announced a few days ago on its Instagram page that it would pledge $500,000 to the charity. Then, on St. Patrick's Day, Jameson made an announcement that the liquor brand will match every dollar donated to this relief program through the end of March, up to $100,000. Donate to the USBG Bartender Emergency Assistance Program by visiting usbgfoundation.org.

Purchase a bottle of Coconut Cartel Rum online

The Miami-based brand of Guatemalan dark rum infused with coconut water has committed to donating all profits from online bottle sales through April 1 to the USBG Bartender Emergency Assistance Program. A 750ml bottle of Coconut Cartel starts at $34.99, and the company offers nationwide shipping as well as same-day delivery in Miami. Purchase at coconutcartel.co.

Purchase curbside takeout from Grails Miami and Spanglish Craft Cocktail Bar + Kitchen

The Wynwood bars are offering a limited-edition "cantina" menu featuring a combination of items from both venues; a starter and entrée cost $15 per person. With every meal sold, Grails and Spanglish will donate a cantina meal to a first responder in uniform or a member of the hospitality industry who is unemployed owing to the work stoppage. They will donate up to 100 meals per day because of limited supplies but are in the process of gaining additional support to continue the program. The goal is to serve 5,000 total donated meals to first responders and those in need in the hospitality industry. Call 786-870-4313 to place your curbside takeout order, and view the cantina menu here.

Pernod Ricard offers complimentary staff meals Fridays at local restaurants

The Pernod Ricard USA liquor portfolio — which includes Jameson Irish Whiskey, the Glenlivet, Absolut, and Malibu rum — has announced it's teaming up with local restaurants to offer free staff meals. This comes at a time when many hospitality workers are unable to make their tips and wages, many of whom rely on their workplaces for meals. Every Friday, Pernod Ricard brand representatives around Miami are providing a limited number of meals to those who are out of work, followed by a virtual session with the National Brand Ambassador team. This week's partner restaurants are Sweet Liberty, Macchialina, and Beaker & Gray, each with various menu offerings to choose from for evening pickup. Reach out to your local Pernod Ricard representative if you are a restaurant looking to get involved or an out-of-work employee who wants to sign up for the staff meal each week.

Donate to the GoFundMe campaign for Fort Lauderdale restaurant employees

This week, leaders in the Fort Lauderdale restaurant community joined together to announce the creation of Hands for Hospitality. The crowdfunded endeavor strives to provide financial support for hourly employees that are unemployed or furloughed because of citywide closures. A list of participating restaurants is growing daily, including Broward favorites such as Yolo, Boatyard, Coconuts, Tarpon River Brewing, and Shooters Waterfront. The donations to the GoFundMe campaign will be distributed equally to all associates registered in the program by their restaurant group, and the employers have provided names and recent payroll reports to validate each employee's hourly work status. The goal is to reach $200,000. Donate to the Hands for Hospitality Fundraiser at gofundme.com.

Sedano's partners with Versailles and La Carreta to provide jobs

Three landmarks in Miami's Hispanic community have joined forces to help alleviate the losses that restaurants are suffering. The supermarket chain Sedano's announced it will provide temporary jobs for employees of Cuban restaurant institutions Versailles and La Carreta. The independent grocery chain estimates it will add up to 400 full-time and part-time positions across its stores as demands for supplies continue to remain high while the partner restaurants concentrate on takeout, delivery, and walk-up window orders. For career opportunities, visit sedanos.com.

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