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Coronavirus relief program for Dallas restaurant workers dishes free grub

Coronavirus meal program for Dallas restaurant workers dishes freebies

staff meals
Ready to serve. Courtesy photo

A coronvirus-related charitable project for Dallas-area restaurant employees is pivoting with a new program that will work hand-in-hand with restaurants.

The project is Staff Meal Dallas, which has been making meals for restaurant workers since in April, in response to the mass layoffs wrought by COVID-19. The program has been located at the Irving Convention Center, distributing free meal kits every Saturday to hospitality workers who lost their jobs.

They're leaving Irving, and will now pop up at restaurants, who will help make the meals.

To execute this new model, the progam received a $40,000 grant from Restaurant Workers' Community Foundation, an advocacy and action nonprofit created by and for restaurant workers.

Co-founders Alison Matis and Cheryl Weis and marketing director Emily Mantooth have restructured the program to make the most of the fact that restaurants are now reopening.

Called "Staff Meal Special", it'll set up shop at one local restaurant each week. The new Staff Meal Special launches July 1.

The old model ends on June 13. It will have served a total of 25,000 meals during its 10-week run.

Weis says the pivot is bittersweet. "But my heart is full knowing that so many people are returning to work and getting back on their feet," she says. "We hope that the new program will reach the needs of more industry members and help create stability as restaurants open to the new normal."


UPDATE 8-4-2020: There are four weeks remaining of Staff Meal Special, the 10-week program launched by FestEvents Foundation to help feed restaurant workers in need and financially support restaurants.

Staff Meal Special is excited to announce its partnering restaurants for its remaining four weeks:

  • August 3: La Madeleine, 3072 Mockingbird Ln., Dallas
  • August 10: Humble Pie, 9014 Garland Rd., Dallas
  • August 17: La Duni, 4620 McKinney Ave., Dallas
  • August 24: Gas Monkey Bar N’ Grill, 10261 Technology Blvd. E, Dallas

To receive a meal kit, applicants must be registered on Staff Meal Special's online mailing list at www.staffmeal.org to receive the weekly reservation link and details including the name of the restaurant, address, date, time, and menu. Reservations are limited.