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One of my jobs is digital editor at Food & Dining Magazine. The other is beer director at Pints&union in New Albany, where we have been participating (gratefully, I might add) in The LEE Initiative’s Restaurant Worker Relief Program.

On Wednesday morning I was finishing my tasks when a woman stuck her head in the door and asked for a moment of my time. She’d heard about our workers relief efforts, and wished to donate. Before I could say much, a hundred dollar bill landed on the counter (more than six feet away, mind you) and she started back out the door. I thanked her and asked if she wanted any sort of invoice or acknowledgement.

“No, I just want to help.”

Thanks again, ma’am. The money is headed where it’s needed, and you also helped me close my work day with a smile.

On Monday, May 11, some Southern Indiana restaurants will reopen their doors, in modified form, to renewed on-premise patronage. Kentucky’s plan of re-orientation hasn’t yet been released, although it’s sure to occur soon.

As we’ve come to expect during the past two months, The LEE Initiative isn’t standing still amid the approaching kaleidoscope, and has introduced Phase Two of its COVID-19 response: “Restaurant Workers Relief Program transitions to Restaurant Reboot Relief Program to help restaurants and sustainable farms rebuild.”

The LEE Initiative explains this new program:

LEE Initiative Restaurant Reboot Relief Program
As restaurants around the country look towards reopening, Edward Lee and Lindsey Ofcacek, director of The LEE Initiative are committed to helping reset the supply chains for farmers and restaurant operators who are committed to sustainable food. The LEE Initiative’s Restaurant Reboot Relief Program is committing at least $1 million to purchasing food from sustainable farmers in 16 regions and giving that food directly to restaurants in those areas. The restaurants that have hosted relief centers in those areas will be receiving the food and helping to select which other restaurants will be receiving the food as well.
“As we were able to help these restaurants survive during the crisis, we realized we’d still be facing a crisis once restaurants were able to reopen. The entire supply chain is broken and by investing in small farmers, we hope to help to repair it and allow farmers and restaurants to rebuild together,” says Lee of the second phase of this program.
The Restaurant Reboot Relief Program launches in June of 2020 and run for at least a year. The program is dependent on involvement from generous partners including Maker’s Mark, as well as donations from the general public.
For more information on the relief efforts, please follow The LEE Initiative on social media. Further details on participating restaurants and farms will be available in the coming weeks.
To make a donation to the Restaurant Reboot Relief Program
Is your farm interested in partnering with The LEE Initiative to provide to your local restaurants?