LOUISVILLE, Ky. – With dine-in services at restaurants in Kentucky closed so many folks that keep the wheels spinning in that industry are without pay. Due to these closures, award-winning chef Edward Lee has turned his Louisville restaurant 610 Magnolia’s wine studio and commissary kitchen across the street into the Restaurant Workers Relief Program. The program provides a to-go, hot family-style meal plus other necessary goods to restaurant industry workers who are out of a job or have reduced hours.
“I didn’t want to twiddle my thumbs while all of my server comrades were suffering. I know thousands and thousands of people lost their income overnight so just wanted to do my part,” said Anna Brashear. She said she worked as a server’s assistant at Magnolia’s until this past Monday. Now, she is one of the volunteers, along with other industry folks, to help with the program.
The program started this week and runs seven days a week from 5:30 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. In addition to the to-go meals, a box full of food, from dried good to fresh fruits, is also given out. There is also necessary supplies on-hand for those who request them, from diapers to toilet paper and even pet food. Volunteers and donations help make it all possible. Maker’s Mark is one of the partners.
“A lot of it is helping fund to purchase all of these products you see here, and then it’s also volunteering, showing up and being here. That’s one thing when it comes to partnership. This isn’t sponsorship. This is a partnership. Like we’re going to be here and help, and we’re going to be boots on the ground,” said Thomas Bolton, the Distillery Diplomat for Maker’s Mark.
Each dinner serves four. There is a limit of two per person and is offered on a first-come, first-served basis. The goal is to provide at least 100 family-style hot meals every night, but volunteers keep going until the food is gone. The plan is to provide the program throughout the Coronavirus quarantine or until money allows the program to run.
“This is necessary because it’s just common decency, you know. People need something and when you have it, you should provide it,” said Kevin Ashworth who is Culinary Director for Magnolia Foods.
The only requirement to pick-up these items is proof you worked or still work in the industry, such as a past paycheck stub. The dinner pick-up address is 621 Magnolia Ave., Louisville, KY 40208. If you’re interested to support the program, you can donate to TheLEEInitiative here. All donations from Louisville received in March and April will go directly to the Restaurant Workers Relief Program in Louisville. The program is also offered in Washington D.C., Los Angeles, Seattle, Cincinnati, and New York City. More cities are planned to be added soon.