It was a tough year for Guy Fieri, who works in both the restaurant business and the TV business, two industries hit hard by the pandemic. He’s not shy about talking about how hard it’s been, and yet he’s able to keep it in perspective.
That’s why he decided to get involved with the Restaurant Employee Relief Fund to help restaurant workers who were impacted by the pandemic.
“We were separated from my parents for Christmas,” he told CBS News in a story that ran earlier this week on Fieri’s efforts. “Lost some really wonderful friends during this. So, there’s been enough to really bum me out, bum us out and get us all down.”
“But on the other side of it,” he added, “there’s so many people that have it so much worse.”
He went on to say, “You know, so many people work in the restaurant industry in multiple jobs, second jobs, single moms, single parents, students, retirees. And the restaurant industry is massively important to our communities. “And so, when I saw this coming, I said, ‘We got to do something to get some money to these folks.'”
As the CBS News story noted, Fieri was able to help get $25 million toward those in need, collecting more than 15,000 individual donations along the way, as well as partnering with about 50 companies.
That translated to 43,000 restaurant workers getting $500 grants, distributed to people in all 50 states. As the story noted, nearly 60 percent of the recipients were women and 50 percent were people of color.
“The reason was, there’s a lot of folks that, for various reasons, don’t have the resources, have the time, have the ability to get that money,” he said. “There was a story that was said to me about someone saying, ‘I live in a building with a bunch of people who work in the service industry, and none of us have any money – I don’t even have anyone I can borrow money from because nobody I know has any money.’ When you start hearing those kinds of things…there’s nothing more important.”