Lobeck Taylor Family Foundation and Mother Road Market, in partnership with the Oklahoma Restaurant Association (ORA), unveiled a relief fund Monday to help Tulsa food and beverage workers affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.

Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum last week ordered all bars, restaurants and entertainment venues closed indefinitely because of the coronavirus threat.

The Lobeck Taylor Family Foundation (LTFF) pledged $100,000 as a matching challenge that will kickstart the relief fund, which will be managed by ORA’s Foundation to support out-of-work Tulsans in that industry.

Funds will be dispersed as $1,000 grants to individuals in the industry who can spend the funds on their most pressing needs. In turn, LTFF is challenging community members to make a tax-deductible donation to the relief fund.

“As the state’s largest private-sector employer, Oklahoma’s food service industry employs over 185,000 people or 11% of the total job base,” Chandy Rice, ORA’s director of education said in a statement. “This fund will help employees keep their head above water. We want our ‘hospitality family’ to be able to put food on their tables and keep a roof over their heads during this extremely difficult time.”

Elizabeth Frame Ellison is president and CEO of LTFF.

“In addition to the distressing public health threat, the COVID-19 pandemic causes extreme financial distress for employees in Tulsa’s food and beverage industry,” she said in a statement.

“Most of these nonsalaried servers, cashiers, bartenders and dish washers don’t have savings to sustain them if their employer has to reduce their hours or close because they are struggling to make ends meet under normal conditions.

“Now more than ever, we need to serve those who serve us!”

Additionally, LTFF has committed to paying the hourly staff at Mother Road Market for up to 60 days to ensure their financial security and has pledged financial support to the Tulsa Area United Way/Tulsa Community Foundation relief fund. LTFF encourages other businesses that can to do the same.

For more information on donating to the Tulsa Restaurant Employee Relief Fund, visit www.motherroadmarket.com/relief. For information on applying for funds, visit www.okrestaurants.com.

Applications can be completed by potential recipients or a supervisor can fill out the application on behalf of their employees.


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