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Municipality Reboots Restaurant Relief to Sustain Jobs, Feed Hungry

Anchorage restaurant owners can apply to provide meals to kids, families, seniors

Anchorage AK – Restaurant owners: Here’s another chance to keep your kitchens humming through the pandemic and your workers employed – and serve some of the most appreciative customers you’ll ever know.

The Municipality of Anchorage has allocated $600,000 to extend the successful restaurant relief meals program into 2021. Through the program, administered by United Way of Anchorage with the Alaska Hospitality Retailers Association, restaurants contract to provide meals to low-income children, families and individuals through nonprofits that serve them.

The current program began with a pilot in October and has been the win-win-win operation intended – and then some. Through Christmas week, 18 restaurants had served 28 different sites with about 35,000 meals, exceeding the original goal of 30,000 meals by year’s end. Participating restaurants have had an income stream to help them through the pandemic, restaurant workers have been rehired, retained or simply kept hours they would have lost, and struggling children, families and seniors have been well-fed.

“We laid off the same people three times because of this pandemic,” said David McCarthy, CEO of 49th State Brewing Company. “(Now), can you help package, can you be a delivery driver? Everybody is committing to it and it gives them hope there is a way to work through this.”

“It’s made an unbelievable difference in our business.”

Rose Ebue, services coordinator and meal deliverer for Chugach View Senior Housing said, “If you could see the light on their faces...”

Now the municipality will give that light a longer reach.

“This program keeps businesses up and running, workers employed, and puts food on the table,” said Acting Mayor Quinn-Davidson. “It's been an incredible success, and we're excited to bring more restaurants on board to serve more residents.”

Beginning at 8 a.m. Monday, Jan. 4, restaurant owners can apply through the portal at the Applications will close Thursday, Jan. 7, at 5 p.m. A lottery will select 15 restaurants at 2 p.m. Friday, Jan. 8. The new program will begin Monday, Jan. 11.

“At its core, this is about helping our neighbors, particularly the most vulnerable among us,” said Clark Halvorson, President, United Way of Anchorage. “Now with the new investment from the muni and new federal support we can continue and strengthen this all-of-Anchorage response to the dramatic increase in food insecurity and lost income in our city.”

“This has been an unbelievable journey, working with the restaurants and recipients has shown me how much our community cares,” said Silvia Villamides of the Alaska Hospitality Retailers.

About United Way of Anchorage
United Way of Anchorage is a community of donors, advocates, volunteers, and partners working together to improve the health, education and financial stability of every person in our community. LIVE UNITED.

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