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Dallas startup pairs unemployed restaurant workers with nonprofit gigs

Dallas startup pairs unemployed restaurant workers with nonprofit gigs

Waitress Broadway in Austin
If you're a server out of a job, this initiative wants to help. Photo by Philicia Endelman

A new initiative has been formed to give restaurant workers a place to work. The Get Shift Done for North Texas Initiative was launched to place hourly workers in the hospitality industry in jobs working for nonprofit organizations and institutions in need during the COVID-19 crisis.

The Get Shift Done for North Texas Fund was created at Communities Foundation of Texas to raise money to provide wages to hourly workers, who would then serve volunteer shifts at local nonprofit organizations, preparing and delivering meals to the "at-risk" populations (children, elderly, families) in need.

Remaining funds will be used to support nonprofit organizations that provide workforce development and hunger relief.

The idea was launched by Anurag Jain and Patrick Brandt, in conjunction with restaurateurs, and nonprofit organizations such as the North Texas Food Bank, where Jain serves as Chairman of the Board. Brandt is president of ShiftSmart, a platform through which the assignments will be managed.

Jain says that in a statement that they saw it as a win for both sides.

"We saw that the volunteer population for our local nonprofits were experiencing an escalating need for volunteers during this crisis and the at-risk population needs for food and resources were spiking," Jain says. "We also know there is a large number of workers in the food and beverage hospitality industry that are currently in need of work. Our goal is to help both the workers and the non-profits facilitate delivering meals to those in need while providing wages to the affected shift workers."

A Shiftsmart operations team will match, schedule, dispatch, and route workers to perform shifts.

Tasks include preparing, assembling, and delivering meals. They'll get paid $10/hour, from the Get Shift Done for North Texas Fund.

Brandt says the program will launch on March 19, with the capability to serve more than one million meals while providing wages to over 1,000 workers per week.