Guy Fieri's Restaurant Employee Relief Fund Has Raised Almost $25 Million for Struggling Workers
The chef and TV star partnered with the National Restaurant Association to start the initiative last year.
You might have noticed Guy Fieri seems to do a lot of nice things for other people. When parts of California have struggled to contain wildfires, Fieri rolls up and quietly starts preparing and serving meals to exhausted firefighters and first responders. Last week, he tweeted that he bought his parents a new car because they'd "always supported [him] in [his]adventures." And on top of all that, he partnered with the National Restaurant Association to launch the Restaurant Employee Relief Fund (RERF), which has raised close to $25 million for restaurant workers that have been struggling financially due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
"You know, so many people work in the restaurant industry in multiple jobs, second jobs, single moms, single parents, students, retirees. And the restaurant industry is massively important to our communities," Fieri told CBS News. "And so, when I saw this coming, I said, 'We got to do something to get some money to these folks."
According to the RERF website, more than 43,000 restaurant employees were approved for $500 grants through the fund, and the recipients were scattered throughout all 50 states, plus Guam, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Washington, D.C. Around 60 percent of recipients identify as female, and around half of those who received grants are racial minorities.
Eighty percent of those who received relief through the organization reported that they had a household income of less than $50,000 annually, and 90 percent of them said that they would be using the funds to pay their rent or mortgage, utility bills, transportation expenses, or childcare. In other words, those grants were essential.
"There was a story that was said to me about someone saying, 'I live in a building with a bunch of people who work in the service industry, and none of us have any money—I don't even have anyone I can borrow money from because nobody I know has any money,'" Fieri said. "When you start hearing those kinds of things... there's nothing more important."
Last week, The Hollywood Reporter announced that Fieri has signed a new three-year deal with Food Network, where he will continue to film new episodes of long-running shows Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives and Guy's Grocery Games, and he'll also record a new season of Tournament of Champions, which debuted last year.
"Food Network is my home and I'm stoked to continue the partnership with the entire Discovery family," Fieri said. "The world of food is the ultimate unifier, so having a global platform to share real-life stories of some of the most deserving chefs, restaurateurs, home cooks, entrepreneurs and anyone who just loves a good meal is an incredible opportunity. I can't wait for everyone to see what we're cookin' up next."
That's cool and all, but we honestly can't wait to see what Fieri's next good deed will be—because there's always another one.