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A New Initiative Pays Dallas Restaurant Workers to Help Fight Hunger

Get Shift Done for North Texas links up the restaurant industry with nonprofits like food banks

Get Shift Done workers assemble boxes to help those who are food insecure
Photo: Chad Windham

A new program is simultaneously fighting hunger and providing paid work for restaurant and hospitality employees while Dallas dining rooms are closed.

The Get Shift Done for North Texas Initiative launched March 18 at Communities Foundation of Texas, connecting hourly workers from Dallas restaurants with local non-profit organizations — like the North Texas Food Bank — who’ve lost their volunteer workforce during the novel coronavirus crisis. The nonprofit is from co-founders Anurag Jain and Patrick Brandt, who say leaders from other cities are already contacting them to replicate this idea.

“We saw that the volunteer population for our local non-profits were experiencing an escalating need for volunteers during this crisis and the at-risk population needs for food and resources were spiking,” Anurag Jain, the chairman of Access Healthcare and managing partner of Perot Jain, said in a press release. “We also know there is a large number of workers in the food and beverage hospitality industry that are currently in need of work. Our goal is to help both the workers and the non-profits facilitate delivering meals to those in need while providing wages to the affected shift workers.”

Hunger Busters is one of the organizations participating in Get Shift Done
Photo: Hunger Busters

Workers will be tasked with preparing, assembling, and delivering meals at a wage rate of $10 per hour, which is paid from the Get Shift Done for North Texas Fund. So far, more than 5,000 hospitality workers have registered for the initiative and 1,000 have been paid to work shifts at food banks.

In its first full week that ended this past Thursday, Get Shift Done paid for 25,000 hours of work and prepared more than a million meals at 14 nonprofit locations. The initiative announced that next week, the fund will pay $400,000 in salaries, which is the equivalent of 1,000 workers working full time. The public can make donation to the Get Shift Done for North Texas fund here.