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These Australian Restaurants Are Giving Back to the Community During COVID-19

Despite being hit hard themselves, these hospo venues are doling out free meals to the country’s most vulnerable. And you can help, too.

The changes of the past couple of weeks have hit Australia’s hospitality industry hard. First, there were the tighter restrictions on venue numbers and spacing; then the government’s closure of all non-essential businesses means hospitality venues were forced to shut their doors and rely solely on whatever takeaway service they had operating — or adapt and launch new ones.


As a result, a huge number of hospitality workers have been left without jobs. According to website I Lost My Hospo Shift, as of Thursday, April 23, 2594 Aussie hospo workers had lost their jobs and 13,237 shifts had been cut, equating to around $2.1 million in lost wages this week alone.
Thankfully, some industry legends are coming to the rescue, lending a helping hand in the form of a few much-needed free feeds. And they’re not just helping out unemployed hospo workers either, they’re providing free meals to frontline health workers, international students and those just generally doing it tough right now.


In Sydney, James Thorpe — co-owner of Petersham’s Oxford Tavern and The Taphouse in Darlinghurst — announced both his venues will continue serving up free takeaway meals for any struggling hospo workers. “If you are a casual hospo worker who is currently underemployed, I will pay for your meal,” he said in a post on The Taphouse Instagram page last week. “Simply make yourself known at the bar with your RSA in tow (or just let us know where you work if a cafe worker) and our team will hook you up with a menu.”

The changes of the past couple of weeks have hit Australia’s hospitality industry hard. First, there were the tighter restrictions on venue numbers and spacing; then the government’s closure of all non-essential businesses means hospitality venues were forced to shut their doors and rely solely on whatever takeaway service they had operating — or adapt and launch new ones.


As a result, a huge number of hospitality workers have been left without jobs. According to website I Lost My Hospo Shift, as of Thursday, April 23, 2594 Aussie hospo workers had lost their jobs and 13,237 shifts had been cut, equating to around $2.1 million in lost wages this week alone.
Thankfully, some industry legends are coming to the rescue, lending a helping hand in the form of a few much-needed free feeds. And they’re not just helping out unemployed hospo workers either, they’re providing free meals to frontline health workers, international students and those just generally doing it tough right now.


In Sydney, James Thorpe — co-owner of Petersham’s Oxford Tavern and The Taphouse in Darlinghurst — announced both his venues will continue serving up free takeaway meals for any struggling hospo workers. “If you are a casual hospo worker who is currently underemployed, I will pay for your meal,” he said in a post on The Taphouse Instagram page last week. “Simply make yourself known at the bar with your RSA in tow (or just let us know where you work if a cafe worker) and our team will hook you up with a menu.”

Meanwhile, Newtown restaurant Hearth & Soul made a comeback especially to throw some support behind struggling Sydneysiders. Owner Rachel Jelley closed the venue in November, but has thrown open the doors for a series of free Friday meal services, catering to both staff and employers in any industry who’ve lost jobs or income as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Alongside a crew of volunteers, she’s serving up a rotating menu of produce-focused dishes from 12–2pm each week, inviting diners to register via the website.


“These are the people who have been working tirelessly to provide you with the dining-out experiences you love,” Jelley explained. “They’ve also been cutting your hair, doing your physio, making your coffee and baking your croissants, and now their livelihoods have simply evaporated overnight, in silence. So, I want to feed them.”

The changes of the past couple of weeks have hit Australia’s hospitality industry hard. First, there were the tighter restrictions on venue numbers and spacing; then the government’s closure of all non-essential businesses means hospitality venues were forced to shut their doors and rely solely on whatever takeaway service they had operating — or adapt and launch new ones.


As a result, a huge number of hospitality workers have been left without jobs. According to website I Lost My Hospo Shift, as of Thursday, April 23, 2594 Aussie hospo workers had lost their jobs and 13,237 shifts had been cut, equating to around $2.1 million in lost wages this week alone.
Thankfully, some industry legends are coming to the rescue, lending a helping hand in the form of a few much-needed free feeds. And they’re not just helping out unemployed hospo workers either, they’re providing free meals to frontline health workers, international students and those just generally doing it tough right now.


In Sydney, James Thorpe — co-owner of Petersham’s Oxford Tavern and The Taphouse in Darlinghurst — announced both his venues will continue serving up free takeaway meals for any struggling hospo workers. “If you are a casual hospo worker who is currently underemployed, I will pay for your meal,” he said in a post on The Taphouse Instagram page last week. “Simply make yourself known at the bar with your RSA in tow (or just let us know where you work if a cafe worker) and our team will hook you up with a menu.”

Meanwhile, Newtown restaurant Hearth & Soul made a comeback especially to throw some support behind struggling Sydneysiders. Owner Rachel Jelley closed the venue in November, but has thrown open the doors for a series of free Friday meal services, catering to both staff and employers in any industry who’ve lost jobs or income as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Alongside a crew of volunteers, she’s serving up a rotating menu of produce-focused dishes from 12–2pm each week, inviting diners to register via the website.
“These are the people who have been working tirelessly to provide you with the dining-out experiences you love,” Jelley explained. “They’ve also been cutting your hair, doing your physio, making your coffee and baking your croissants, and now their livelihoods have simply evaporated overnight, in silence. So, I want to feed them.”

Over in Enmore, Colombo Social is a Sri Lankan restaurant that provides employment opportunities and support to asylum seekers and refugees. But in response to these turbulent times, it’s now expanded its focus, teaming up with Mission Australia and a bunch of other local charities to feed as many vulnerable community members as possible. The kitchen’s being put to good use, whipping up over 4600 hot, nutritious meals for free to those who are hungry or struggling to feed their families.


Italian chain Fratelli Fresh is also donating 650 meals every week to healthcare workers via its Feed the Front Line program, which is running until the end of June. You can donate a meal for $10 over here, too. Then, there’s the group of Manly venues that have banded together in an effort to feed vulnerable hospitality workers. Via a new Go Fund Me campaign, spots like The Cumberland, The Hold, Hugos Manly and 4 Pines are raising money to fund free meals for those in the industry who’ve lost income and work. Impacted workers are invited to get themselves verified, then to register for any of the nightly-changing, home-delivered dishes. The meals are created using leftover food stocks donated by local restaurants.


And Chippendale local Sneaky Possum has transformed into soup kitchens, dishing up free feeds to hard-hit hospitality staff with complimentary hospo meals from 8pm nightly.


Down in Melbourne, Attica has set up its own soup kitchen. It’s selling $25 Thai-inspired chicken broths, with $5 from each one sold going towards preparing food for unemployed hospitality workers on temporary visas. The crew from Brighton barbecue restaurant Coal Blooded Griller are drumming up donations to enable them to whip up free meals for those in need. Having already raised over $3500, they’re able to serve hundreds of ready-to-heat, two-person food packs.

Continue Reading HERE
Article is from Concrete Playground
By Libby Curran

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