Leverett Lounge offers new program to help feed laid off hospitality workers

Illustration: Courtesy, Leverett Lounge

Local restaurant Leverett Lounge has been closed for a few weeks now, but they haven’t stopped feeding hungry folks in Fayetteville.

The restaurant officially closed on March 16, but they’ve been offering free shift meals to-go for their employees ever since.

Now, owners Ben Gitchel and Hannah Withers have recently opened up the program, called “Feed the Heard,” to other restaurant workers who’ve been laid off as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

From their website:

We’ve always believed that nobody who works in food should ever be hungry. Here’s your chance to help us make sure that doesn’t happen.

When we temporarily closed Leverett Lounge on March 16, we had a walk-in full of food, and the stark realization of how financially fragile restaurant workers are. While we are waiting for this to settle back into whatever our new normal will be, we decided to start feeding our crew to-go meals twice a week. That’s turned quickly into us feeding 100 unemployed people from bars and restaurants in Fayetteville that we love. We’d like to continue to do that, and allow whatever unemployment wages they receive to be spent on rent and utilities and essentials.

The restaurant is serving the shift meals every Wednesday and Saturday. They have also added a page to their website for restaurant workers to reserve a meal, and for others to donate to the program to help cover costs.

Options are available for a one-time $10 donation, or for folks to donate on a subscription service to help sustain the program.

“It seems that after a couple of weeks of being closed, our role in being closed is to feed our people,” Withers said. “We’ve been doing that for a couple of weeks, and are seeing a need for the many people in our industry who need to eat.”

We’ve heard of a few other restaurants who are offering similar programs. Hugo’s, for example, has to-go meals for laid off restaurant workers. Bordinos GM Reese Roberts has created a new association to raise funds for restaurant workers that have found themselves out of work as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Arsaga’s is offering oatmeal at their MLK location to restaurant folks. Other restaurants are raising funds for their employees as well.

If you know of other resources available, please let us know in the comments.

To reserve a meal from Leverett Lounge, or to donate to help feed others, visit leverettlounge.com/feed-the-heard.