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The Plate Fund to provide cash payments for Seattle restaurant workers

The coronavirus pandemic has hit restaurants especially hard as stay-at-home orders across the nation take effect. Washington state’s own “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” initiative has forced many restaurants to close or modify their business structure. Statewide, no dine-in service is allowed, as restaurants must adapt to a takeout and delivery only system.

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Thousands of employees have lost their jobs due to this crisis, either entirely or in part, with many having to file for unemployment.

On Monday, a group of restaurants, foundations, organizations, and individuals across the Seattle area launched The Plate Fund, brought together by the Schulz Family Foundation in partnership with All in Seattle, Seattle Foundation, and UpTogether. It launched with $4 million in seed funding.

This initiative will give immediate, one-time $500 cash payments to Seattle-area restaurants workers in need. The payments will help those in the food service industry who have lost income and jobs due to the disruptions caused by the coronavirus to pay for groceries, medicine, rent, and other bills or expenses.

Any restaurant or food service employee who has lost their job or seen reduced hours due to the pandemic can apply on The Plate Fund’s app or website. Applicants must provide proof of residence in King County, confirm an impact in pay or job status, and upload a pay stub that shows an annual pay of less than $62,000. The fund will also help workers who do not qualify for unemployment or the federal payments due to immigration status or other issues.

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“We can help bridge the gap between the time workers received their last paychecks and the time they access government-provided payments and benefits. For some, this may be the only assistance they receive,” said Sheri Schultz, President of the Schultz Family Foundation. “All of us have a responsibility to help those in need during this unprecedented crisis. With #ThePlateFund, we have an opportunity to serve those who contribute to the vibrancy of our community, and now need a lifeline. We are grateful that so many are coming forward to help.”

If you want to help, you can donate to The Plate Fund online here.

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