Resources for hospitality workers hit hard by coronavirus around San Antonio

Assistance for food, unemployment, rent payments, stimulus checks and more


SAN ANTONIO – The hospitality industry has been crippled by the coronavirus pandemic with hundreds of thousands of workers furloughed around the country after restaurants and bars have been ordered to close or limit orders to pick-up and delivery only.

Unemployment claims in Texas spiked 862% in just one week in March, according to data from the U.S. Department of Labor.

Guide to unemployment benefits for Texans laid off during coronavirus pandemic

While many businesses are giving free food and products to health care workers, KSAT started looking into what services and benefits are available for hospitality industry workers.

This list is not all-inclusive. If you have information on where a hospitality worker can find free food, services or products, please let me know by email at

Here’s what we found:

  • HospitALLity House is providing free meals for hospitality workers, including those in the restaurant industry who are facing financial hardship. Funds donated to the Culinaria Emergency Relief Fund will be “distributed to Hospitality House, Restaurants/Bars and Individuals displaced from the COVID Crisis," according to the Culinaria website.
  • Smokey Mo’s BBQ is offering 40 meals per store at the San Antonio, Boerne, Spring Branch and New Braunfels locations for hospitality industry workers. “We are asking for the orders to be placed by Wednesday at 7 p.m. for pick-up on Thursday,” according to Smokey Mo’s regional developer Kim Harris. Currently, the 280 free meal giveaway is a one-time event but “will be re-evaluated after we get through the week," Harris said. Each person is eligible for a single free plate (choose any plate, any meats and sides).
  • The Winechester in Alamo Heights is offering a free meal and a produce bag to hospitality workers every week on Tuesday. It’s limited to the first 200 people who sign up by messaging the company directly on Facebook. Items in the produce bags will vary depending on availability.

San Antonio best-selling author and journalist Shea Serrano has made headlines recently for his philanthropic efforts to help those struggling to make ends meet due to COVID-19.

The latest extension of kindness: Serrano sent $1,300 to a waitress at Wing Daddy’s on Monday and even got a shoutout from former President Barak Obama.

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

Congress recently passed a $2 trillion economic stimulus package to aid the economy which will put money in the pockets of millions of U.S. residents. Click here to see how much money you will get from the stimulus bill.

How Texas renters can get answers to housing, payment questions amid coronavirus pandemic

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.


About the Author:

Mary Claire Patton has been a journalist with KSAT 12 since 2015. She has reported on several high-profile stories during her career at KSAT and specializes in trending news and things to do around Texas and San Antonio.