PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- There's another way for unemployed restaurant workers to get some financial help, thanks to the Arizona Restaurant Association. The ARA has created the Arizona Restaurant Strong, a relief fund that is providing funding for restaurant workers who are now out of work and without a paycheck.
Steve Chucri, ARA president and CEO said, "As an organization, we must be proactive to help the restaurant industry service staff that are in economic distress." It's extra money is a big help to people like Fernando Bambaren.
He's a bar manager at Virtu Honest Craft in Old Town Scottsdale, which has been closed for five weeks now. He has the extra expense of doctors and hospital visits, along with medications. Last October, he had a kidney transplant. He's now recovering and doing well, but is going without a pay check.
The Arizona Restaurant Strong Relief fund gives a maximum $500 to workers in the industry. Bambaren says every little bit helps, until he can get back to a job he loves.
"That helps provide groceries, for me, it's going to help me get my medicine for the month," said Bambaren.
The Arizona Restaurant Strong Relief Fund is specifically for industry service staff. That includes servers, bartenders, line cooks, dishwashers and other hourly workers in the restaurant industry. The initial amount of the fund is $250,000 so they'll be able to help a lot of folks. It's made possible thanks to the founding donors, Crescent Crown Distributing and Finley Distributing.
You can apply or donate to the fund online at www.azrestaurantstrong.com.