The owner of Batch Brewing Company didn’t set out to raise nearly $50,000 for service industry workers in Detroit, but his Saturday cookouts ended up doing just that.
“It was an accidental fundraiser,” says Stephen Roginson, who owns the Corktown, Detroit-based brewery. “The original intent wasn’t to raise money. It was to get together with some friends from the industry.”
Roginson is throwing another pay-what-you-can dinner on Saturday, December 12 from 12 p.m. to 9 p.m. for service industry workers affected by the latest pause on indoor dining in Michigan, which was recently extended to December 20. The CARES Act, which acted as a lifeline for many service industry workers earlier this spring, is set to expire on December 26.
Listen: Stephen Roginson of Batch Brewing Co. talks about his efforts to raise money for service industry workers in Detroit:
The brewery has been raising the relief fund for service industry workers in Detroit, Hamtramck and Highland Park through their non-profit arm Feelgood Tap.
Roginson says a lot of donations have come from customers looking to donate to the cause. “There’s a real desire to support the impacted service industry employees who are unemployed or under-employed,” says Roginson.
According to Roginson, about 220 people have applied for funds so far. He estimates that each applicant will get roughly $200 to $250 depending on how many contributions are made to the fund.
Roginson says funds will begin to be issued early next week. Anyone interested in applying can do so via this form, which is still open to new applicants.
“$40,000 to $50,000 is not a lot of money. This is a band-aid,” says Roginson. “The restaurant industry nationally has over 13 million employees. The auto industry has 1.7 million. There have been big bailouts for industries that are struggling and suffering. Right now, the restaurant industry needs the federal government to step up.”
Looking for support? Here are funds available to service industry workers affected by COVID-19:
- Detroit Kitchen Terminal is offering up to $500 to food service workers economically affected by COVID-19 in Detroit, Highland Park and Hamtramck. Here’s a link to the application to apply.
- Great Lakes Hotel Supply and Michigan Chefs de Cuisine Association are offering up to $2,500 for small business owners as well as $500 for service industry employees. Grants are on a first-come, first-serve basis. Here’s a link to the application to apply. You can also donate to this fund here.
- Eater Detroit has a round-up of local restaurants providing carry-out meals for impacted service industry workers. You can view that full list here.