The program awards emergency grants up to $2,500 to eligible employees at businesses running active United Way workplace campaigns in the hospitality industry. The funds will provide temporary assistance during times of crisis to cover basic financial needs, including housing, medical and utility bills.
United Way of Southeast Louisiana (UWSELA) and the Louisiana Hospitality Foundation (LHF) responded to COVID-19 by launching the Hospitality Cares Pandemic Response Fund, which provided needed critical funding to cash-strapped households, commonly referred to as ALICE® (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) and out-of-work hospitality professionals.
The fund generated more than $2.4 million in support with help from generous donors and corporate partners, including United Way of Southeast Louisiana’s commitment of $250,000 to support the fund. Entergy Corporation and Baptist Community Ministries, followed along with $200,000 commitments along with Fidelity Bank, Northshore Community Foundation, Hilton Foundation, Kinder Morgan, Blue Cross Blue Shield, New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, Allstate Sugar Bowl Committee, and countless others.
THEIR VOICES: PANDEMIC CRISIS GRANT RECIPIENTS
“I am in tears right now, I just received the email stating I am receiving the grant. I literally just spent my last $9 for gas and groceries. I have been praying for work and strength to get my 10-year-old son and I through these difficult times. I was about to give up, until I read my emails. From the bottom of our hearts thank you…Bills are piling up and now I will be able to get more food for us and pay some of these bills. God Bless.”
“I moved here alone a year ago, so my restaurant and my guests are my family. To see the community come together like this, to take care of my industry during this hard time in our country, gives me so much hope and faith in humanity.”
“When the schools closed down I had to remove myself from the schedule to take care of my five-year-old – then to have our dining room shut down days later. It’s been hard to deal with the stress and financial stress while trying to stay positive for your child and learning how to teach pre-k without bursting into tears. Thanks to the grant, I can breathe a little easier especially since schools have also shut down hot lunches for kids locally. We’ll get through this together.
ABOUT HOSPITALITY CARES
Funds for the program’s crisis grants are generated through employee contributions to UWSELA hospitality workplace campaigns. Fifty percent of campaign proceeds will support emergency crisis grant allocations overseen by the Louisiana Hospitality Foundation (LHF), and 50 percent will be dedicated to existing United Way of Southeast Louisiana education, health and financial stability initiatives serving its entire seven-parish community, of which our hospitality workers are an integral part.
UWSELA identified the partnership with LHF as a tactic in its fight to support the 52 percent of the population recognized as ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed). ALICE individuals and families live above the poverty line, but just one car repair, health emergency, or harsh storm away from falling into poverty themselves.
Southeast Louisiana’s high costs of living – including housing, transportation, and child care – positions many in the hospitality industry under the ALICE threshold and unable to save for emergencies.
The program’s grants are only open to employees of businesses in the hospitality industry running active United Way workplace campaigns. New businesses interested in participating may contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. There is no fee to participate in the program.