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Eat Out Restaurant Relief Fund Helping People Eat During Lockdown

 Eat Out Restaurant Relief Fund Helping People Eat During Lockdown

In just over two weeks, the Eat Out Restaurant Relief Fund has distributed R980 000 to 32 restaurants, helping them make over half a million meals in May for hungry people across South Africa.

The Eat Out Restaurant Relief Fund in partnership with Community Chest provides financial aid to restaurants making meals for those in need and has enabled dedicated people to go back to work to make a real difference in our society.

CEO of New Media that owns Eat Out, Aileen Lamb, said: “We want this fund to keep our beloved industry operating and provide much-needed financial assistance so they can reopen their doors as viable businesses when the time comes.”

In two weeks, as corporate and individual donations have poured in, they’ve been able to distribute R980 000 in donations to 32 restaurants. This is helping them make over half a million meals in May for those in need across SA, feeding around 17 000 vulnerable people every day.

New Media seeded the fund with R500 000, and Retail Capital and Graham Beck/Steenberg Vineyards soon came on board, each donating R100 000.

“It was a mad scramble to get everything going,” said former editor-in-chief of Eat Out Adelle Horler, who was involved in the setup of the fund.

“Within about 10 days this went from nothing more than an idea to a launched fund website, new content and social strategies, a raft of legal criteria and T&Cs, a sales team that pivoted to getting donations rather than advertising, and a dedicated – in every sense of the word – content team that put in long hours and weekend work to get it up and running. It’s been a brilliant ride, and has really felt good to be part of some solutions in this time.”

Retail Capital CEO Karl Westvig said he’s supporting the initiative because “many of our restaurant owners are not trading right now but they do have facilities, and they do have staff – and many of them are using those facilities and staff to feed the hungry”.

CEO of Graham Beck and Steenberg Vineyards Chris du Toit added: “To the head chefs, the porters, the waiters and the cooks who are working to help the vulnerable at this time, thank you for choosing hope. Let’s support our diverse world-leading restaurant industry now to ensure that when the time comes, we can all return to doing what we so love – gathering around a gourmet meal at our favourite restaurants, drinking a toast and celebrating what matters.”

The needs are diverse and funded restaurants are meeting them head on. For example, Café Extrablatt in Green Point, Cape Town, is cooking meals for The Haven Night Shelter.

Meanwhile, Jackson’s Real Food Market and Eatery is distributing meals to vulnerable families in Joburg and Thava Indian Restaurant committed to feeding over 1 000 people every day from their community kitchen in Norwood, Joburg.

Chef David Schneider of Chefs Warehouse at Maison in Cape Town summed it up: “In a time where it feels like all change is bad, you get reminded that just by doing something small, by adding value to the community around you, some change is extraordinary.”

Life as we knew it no longer exists and there are South Africans in desperate need of help. One of the sectors most affected is also one that can make a huge difference. 

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