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Culinaria San Antonio offers free meals, assistance to hospitality workers struggling amid coronavirus pandemic

Culinara initiates short and long-term programs to assist hospitality workers hit hard by COVID-19 crisis

Courtesy: Culinaria San Antonio
Courtesy: Culinaria San Antonio

SAN ANTONIO – The restaurant and hospitality industries have been some of the hardest hit during the coronavirus pandemic. Thousands of people are out of work or have seen drastic wage setbacks.

Culinaria, a local non-profit organization committed to promoting San Antonio as a premier food and wine destination, wants to help those people affected most by the pandemic.

“This is definitely an unprecedented time for us all and our hope is to support furloughed industry workers that have helped put this city on the map as a culinary destination,” said Suzanne Taranto-Etheredge, president and CEO of Culinaria.

Culinaria has started assistance programs to address short and long-term needs for workers, restaurants and bars in the San Antonio area.

The first program is called HospitALLity House. It focuses on short-term needs by ensuring those in the hospitality industry receive a hot meal.

Service is provided Monday through Saturday at Alamo BBQ from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Several other restaurants have stepped in to help with meals at their locations.

Food and monetary donations from local businesses and individuals have helped keep the program, which has already fed more than 12,000 in its first two weeks of operation, going.

Culinaria Family Meal Kits are also networked through chefs for distribution to furloughed workers.

Hospitality businesses that have employees in need can send an email to info@culinariasa.org to be included in the kit distribution.

For long-term needs, Culinaria created an emergency relief fund and will issue funds to hospitality workers. Individuals and businesses are encouraged to donate to the fund through PayPal or Venmo on their website at CulinariaSA.org.

Culinaria posted an application process on its website for those interested.

Individuals who are interested in finding locations that are offering the hot meals to hospitality industry workers can follow Culinaria’s social media channels daily for locations and times.

Some of the support includes contributions from:

Chef Jason Dady, Silver Eagle, Tito’s Handmade Vodka, Sysco, Alamo BBQ, Bakery Lorraine, Chef John Brand and Hotel Emma, Gaucho Gourmet, Cheesecake Factory, Panifico Bake Shop, Hush San Antonio, San Pellegrino and Texana Brands.

Culinaria is also offering “Restaurant Weeks To-Go,” to promote restaurants that have remained opened for to-go, curbside and delivery services.

Culinariasa.org has a complete listing of those restaurants, menus as well as restaurant websites and phone numbers.

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