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New Fundraiser Launched to Help Hard-Hit Restaurant, Bar Workers

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2 minute read

The organizers of Curbside KC have added a new item to their menu for helping restaurant and other hospitality workers hit hard by the business restrictions forced by the Covid-19 crisis.

Kansas City Runs on Hospitality is a fundraising effort that hopes to raise $100,000 to help out-of-work and/or underemployed restaurant and bar workers by selling T-shirts and organizing a centralized “tip jar” for people to make contributions.

The new effort was organized by Anna Petrow and Danielle Lehman, whose earlier Curbside KC website initiative has made it easier to find restaurants and other establishments offering to-go options for people wanting to patronize them.

Petrow has an appetite for helping the restaurant world due to her professional work as a food photographer for the industry.

“I know these people well and I love them very much,” she said. “I want to sustain them at at a time many of them are struggling.”

The KC Runs on Hospitality organizers enlisted Frank Norton, a Kansas City graphic artist and adjunct professor at the Kansas City Art Institute to come up with a design for the first T-shirt. Other merchandise may be in the works in the future.

KC Runs on Hospitality will help employees at restaurants including Fox and Pearl on the West Side stay on their feet until they can reopen their dining rooms.

The T-shirts sell for $25 and the net proceeds go to help employees at participating restaurants. The KC Runs effort was launched last week ad raised $3,500 during its first couple days.

Individuals also can leave a tip for hospitality workers through a Virtual Tip Jar. The KC Runs program has teamed with Kanbe’s Markets, a registered 501(c)3 charitable organization, to facilitate fund distribution.

According to a press release, the list of participating restaurants so far includes Antler Room, Bluestem, Brewery Emperial, Café Sebastienne, Caffetteria, The Campground, Ça Va, Corvino, Fox and Pearl, Front Range, Heirloom,

Howard’s Café, Jarocho, KC Pinoy, Made in KC Café, The Mixx, Novel, Plate, Port Fonda, The Rieger, Room 39, Ruby Jeans, Rye, Sayachi, Sohaila’s Kitchen, Sura Eats, Unbakery, Waldo Thai.

Howard’s Cafe in the Crossroads is another establishment participating in the fundraiser.

“Our food scene was experiencing such an impressive momentum before the shutdown, and while we continue to be inspired by local business owners creative solutions to continue to serve KC, we know that wouldn’t be enough for everyone,” Petrow said in the release.

Keith Bradley of Made in KC said his organization of local makers is supporting the KC Runs on Hospitality initiative.

“Personally, we have nearly 100 employees on payroll in Kansas City and unfortunately, for a variety of reasons, not everyone is eligible for unemployment benefits,” he said in a statement.

“Anna Petrow and Danielle Lehman put together this centralized initiative to support hospitality workers with the premise that coordinated action is stronger than individual efforts to raise funds.”

Locally-owned restaurant owners can contact KC Runs for Hospitality to apply for aid.

(Editor’s note: CityScene KC is now a paid subscription publication, please consider subscribing.)

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