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Nonprofit, local restaurants team up to feed laid off hospitality service workers for free

Project sponsored by Culinaria emergency relief fund

SAN ANTONIO – Local celebrity chef Jason Dady owns six restaurants, so he’s used to being busy. Since all San Antonio restaurants have been ordered to close, and hotels have been downsizing due to the coronavirus outbreak, his mission has shifted from selling food to providing free meals.

“I’m just kind of waking up every morning, making 30 gallons of soup, coming over here, banging out lunch and going and buying more product. We’re trying to change the menu everyday if we can,” Dady said.

As of day five of the mission, more than 600 free meals had been served up.

“It’s for the hotel workers. It’s for, you know, anyone who is doing anything in a hotel or a restaurant or a bar. We want to make sure that we’re feeding them hot meals everyday,” said Suzanne Taranto Etheredge, CEO of Culinaria, a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting the hospitality industry.

On Tuesday, a KSAT crew noticed several people laid off who were appreciative of the free lunch.

“If it wasn’t for them, I probably wouldn’t eat today,” said Richard Altamirano, who is wheelchair bound.

“I haven’t been getting no money coming in at all, so this helps us. It’s lunch and dinner for my kids,” said Claudia Perez, who was recently laid off from her job as a waitress on the Riverwalk.

Perez has a 21-year-old son who is also in the service industry and was recently laid off.

Dady said he plans to continue the mission as long as it takes.

Lunch is served from 1-3 p.m., and dinner is from 6-8 p.m. every day at Alamo BBQ Company on Grayson.

If you’d like to donate to the cause, click here.

COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the new virus, stands for coronavirus disease 2019. The disease first appeared in late 2019 in Wuhan, China, but spread around the world in early 2020, causing the World Health Organization to declare a pandemic in March.

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