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Food service workers were hit hard during the pandemic. Giving Kitchen is helping them out

A non-profit is offering a hand up to the people behind the bars and in the kitchen.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — It's no secret that the immediate impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic hit just about everyone hard. From healthcare workers to teachers, it seemed like the shutdowns that came with the virus' first sightings in 2020 made major impacts across the board.

One group of workers, in particular, was especially hit by job shutdowns: food service employees, who often were without jobs for months at a time. But the waiters and cooks and bartenders who make a night out in Charlotte possible now have a resource to tap into: Giving Kitchen.

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"We can offer financial resources to food service workers that are suffering from an illness, injury, death of a family member, or a housing crisis," said Jen Hidinger-Kendrick, the non-profit's co-founder and senior director of community engagement. "We can also step in and offer stability network resources, connecting food service workers to vital community resources in and around their area."

Since most food service workers often don't get paid leave and are often only paid when they work, Hidinger-Kendrick says this kind of safety net is key. She understands this herself; when her husband came down with an illness, her family struggled to figure out how to make ends meet.

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But she found a hand-up with her fellow food service workers.

"It was really our community that stepped in this time of need," she said. 

Food service workers who need assistance can visit the Giving Kitchen website to make a request. If you want to help with their mission, there are also ways to give online.

Contact Sarah French at Sarah@wcnc.com and follow her on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

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