Photo courtesy of the National Restaurant Foundation's Twitter.

The National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation created a relief fund for individuals who have experienced hardship because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Registration for the grant will reopen on Thursday at noon and 20,000 will be accepted before the registration process closes to process those applications, the foundation announced on its website Wednesday. 


The NRAEF’s website states the one-time grant of $500 will be eligible for individuals who experienced a decrease or loss of employment due to COVID-19. The website states the grant will be awarded as soon as the individual meets the following criteria:  

  • A pay stub dated before December 10, 2019 which shows:
    • Your name
    • Your employer’s name
    • Hours and/or Amount Year to Date
  • A pay stub dated after March 10, 2020 which shows:
    • Your name
    • Your employer’s name
    • Hours and/or Amount Year to Date
  • If you cannot provide a pay stub, you can also upload a notice or letter of termination or a claim for unemployment benefits dated after March 10, 2020. This notice must show:
    • Your name
    • Employer’s name
    • Date of termination

The foundation opened the application process last week and is reviewing nearly 10,000 completed applications.

The website states the registration page will open to new applicants periodically, and once registered, individuals will receive an email confirmation with additional instructions regarding the application process.

“Our priority is to help you and your fellow restaurant workers during these challenging times,” the website reads. 

Sara Goldstein recently lost her position as a server at Bar Louie due to growing concerns over COVID-19. She said she started working at the Winter Park location in January and on March 29, she said she received an email from Bar Louie CEO Tom Ficke notifying her of her termination.

Goldstein said her last shift at Bar Louie was before UCF’s spring break, and on March 11, UCF made the announcement to move to remote instruction. She said she had no reason to come back to Orlando because UCF urged students to return to their permanent residences. 

Goldstein’s father is disabled and currently unemployed, and her mother, a hairdresser, is now also unable to work due because the salon temporarily closed.

Goldstein said she and her family have been using their savings account and concerned about their ability to supply themselves with basic necessities.

Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer put restrictions on the sale and consumption of alcohol in a St. Patrick’s Day press conference, and the executive orders impacting the foodservice industry have only grown since. 

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment in food services and drinking places fell 417,000. 

The NRAEF’s grant program operates on a first come first serve basis and is supplied funds through donations, so it is likely the NRAEF will be unable to service all who wish to apply. However, they are still accepting donations.