Inlander Restaurant Week
Serves Hope through Big Table
During Restaurant Week consider helping to care for restaurant workers in crisis.
Big Table is honored to be a highlighted beneficiary of Restaurant Week.
Last year as the pandemic shattered the restaurant and hospitality industry from top to bottom, one non-profit that started here in Spokane over a decade ago was ready to help. Big Table launched in 2009 for a simple reason. There wasn’t a single non-profit nationally caring for those working in the restaurant and hospitality industry. Not one. Out of 1.5 million non-profits registered with the IRS.
NEED HIDDEN BEHIND SMILES
This statistic is so stunning because the restaurant and hospitality industry is not only one of the largest in the nation, but also the lowest rung on the employment ladder and a melting pot of the most vulnerable demographics in our community: single parents, at-risk teens, immigrants, income insecure seniors, those rebuilding their lives after incarceration.
BEYOND THE PANDEMIC
During the shutdowns the needs of those in the industry were well-covered by news reports. Yet the underlying causes that have kept nearly half of those working in restaurants and hotels barely above the official poverty line for decades have not gone away as the economy reopens.
With this poverty comes hopelessness along with the highest levels of addiction, chronic stress, pervasive mental health struggles, and broken relationships.
“What we really do is serve hope,” says Kevin Finch, the executive director and founder of Big Table. “We respond quickly with triage crisis care and then provide ongoing relational support and mentoring.”
WHAT HOPE LOOKS LIKE
Think rent to keep a family from being evicted, groceries to keep a family fed, support to see a therapist, a bus pass or car repair to keep someone from losing their job, or in Robbie’s case, new teeth.
Robbie was a cook with a Meth problem that left his teeth severely rotted. Although he had been sober for 10 years, his teeth kept him stuck, hiding his teeth and eternally labeled an addict. Big Table was able to help give Robbie a new set of teeth and today Robbie smiles without a care and has a thriving career in graphic design.
“To have someone pull me out of that darkness is something I will never forget,” Robbie says.
JOIN THE MOVEMENT
There are so many ways you can support the restaurant industry right now. “Enjoying an incredible meal during Restaurant Week is one of them,” Finch says. “Just know that nearly every restaurant now is massively understaffed so give them grace and let them know that you know it is challenging.”
Kindness goes a long way.
There are many creative ideas on How to Care While Eating and Sleeping on big-table.com and you can donate directly to Big Table and bring critical care to local restaurant and hospitality workers in crisis.
Learn more about Big Table by visiting www.big-table.com.