It’s no surprise that the Stay Home order has proved particularly hard for folks in the restaurant and food service industries. Many workers have been laid off and are experiencing severe financial insecurity as a result of the pandemic. A vast majority of line cooks, wait staff, dishwashers, and other food-service employees rely on every paycheck and tip to support themselves and their families. To help support our local food-workers, a coalition of Greater Seattle restaurants, foundations, organizations, and individuals have all come together in an amazing feat of collective action to organize The Plate Fund.

Photos courtesy The Plate Fund via Facebook

The Plate Fund is an initiative to provide emergency financial assistance to restaurant and food-service workers who have lost jobs and income due to COVID-19. The fund — created by the Schultz Family Foundation in partnership with All In Seattle, Seattle Foundation, and UpTogether — launches with $4 million in seed funding and has a goal to reach as many in-need restaurant workers as possible in King County.

The fund plans to provide immediate one-time payments of $500 to restaurant workers hardest hit by the COVID-19 crisis, prioritizing the most vulnerable and in-need individuals in the restaurant community so they can quickly pay for essentials such as food, medicine, transportation, baby products, and other expenses. Individuals may apply for assistance from The Plate Fund via a mobile-enabled website without having to leave their homes.

Any restaurant or food-service worker that has experienced a reduction in hours or been laid off as a result of the COVID-19 crisis can apply for assistance from The Plate Fund. To qualify, applicants are required to provide proof that they live in King County; confirm that they have experienced a reduction of hours or been laid off; and upload a recent pay stub via photo or other means, showing they have an annual gross pay of less than $62,000, inclusive of tips. The Plate Fund will also provide electronic codes for restaurant owners to distribute directly to workers who are in the greatest need.

To apply, visit this website. If you would like to donate and help support the King County restaurant and food-service industry during these difficult times, you can do so here.