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 once again be a highlighted beneficiary of Restaurant Week.
As the restaurant and hospitality industry continues to slowly rebound amidst the challenges of the pandemic, one non-profit that started here in Spokane over a decade ago is still uniquely positioned to help workers on the edge of crisis. 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. Big Table now stands in that gap – serving hope locally to those who serve us in Spokane, as well recently expanding to include those in the Palouse.
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 initial 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 won’t magically disappear even after the economy bounces back.
This is poverty that brings with it entrenched 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, help with medical bills, a bus pass, or car repair to keep someone from losing their job. It looks different for each care recipient. Take Delores for instance:
Delores is a hardworking single mom and prep cook down in the Palouse who always puts others first. Unfortunately, life has dealt her one punch after another leaving her discouraged and feeling alone – having COVID twice, an excruciating back surgery, and a horrible car accident that totaled her car making it difficult to get to work. Big Table has come alongside Delores to support her financially by paying for rent and utilities, as well as providing her family a reliable vehicle which she generously shares with extended family and co-workers as needed. “You had me crying at work – thank you so much! This means the world to me!” Most importantly, for the first time in so many years, Delores feels connected and cared for which is exactly why Big Table exists.
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. “Showing kindness and generosity… even a smile and a genuine thank you… goes a long way as workers continue to navigate the stress as well as staffing and supply chain challenges brought on by the pandemic.”
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.