Fifteen days ago, The LEE Initiative’s 2020 mentees were revealed at an informative and entertaining program, “The Future of Food is Female.” Already it seems like far longer, and now temporary restaurant and bar closures owing to efforts to slow the spread of the coronavirus threaten to displace and disrupt the lives of numerous food service and bar employees, who make up 10% of the state of Kentucky’s workforce. The Lee Initiative is pivoting to lend a hand.

Chef Edward Lee, right-hand woman Lindsey Ofcacek and chief LEE Initiative sponsor Maker’s Mark have collectively placed pedal to metal seemingly overnight and unveiled an initiative to provide assistance where needed.

Want to pitch in? Go to The LEE Initiative and donate.

In their words …

Restaurant Workers Relief Program

Due to the closure of restaurants, we have an urgent need for assistance for the thousands of restaurant workers who find themselves suddenly without work, without a paycheck and without a support system. Independent restaurants are at the center of the vibrant growth in America. For the past decade, we have relied on the stellar hospitality and positive PR, now restaurant workers need your help more than ever. If we don’t take a stand and do something now, there will not be an independent restaurant industry to speak of when the corona-virus crisis is over.

Starting on March 17, in partnership with Maker’s Mark we will turn 610 Magnolia into a relief center for any restaurant worker who has been laid off or has had a significant reduction in hours. We are offering help for those in dire need of food and supplies. Each night, we will pack hundreds of to go dinners that people can come to pick up and take home. Dinners are offered on a first come first serve basis. Limit 2 to a person unless there is an emergency situation.

We will also have supplies on hand for those in need: diapers, wipes, baby food, non-perishable canned foods and cereals, toilet paper, and Tylenol. We will limit how much any one person can take of these supplies but they will be handed out free to those in need.
We will continue to offer this program throughout the quarantine period or until we can no longer financially support the program.

Details of the program are below:

  • Dinner pick up address: 621 West Magnolia Ave, Louisville, KY 40208.
  • This program will be offered 7 nights a week until otherwise notified.
  • Pick up time is 5:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. nightly. Please Come with a list of needs and we will pack and deliver to your car.
  • Please bring a paycheck stub or proof of restaurant employment.

To support this program, please donate at LEE Initiative. All Donations received by LEE Initiative in March and April will go directly to the restaurant workers relief program.