Hawaii Mom Blog: HFWF Opens Applications for Kokua Restaurant Workers' Fund

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May 11, 2020

HFWF Opens Applications for Kokua Restaurant Workers' Fund

Hawai‘i Food & Wine Festival will open applications on Tuesday, May 12 at 9 a.m. HST for the Kokua Restaurant Workers’ Fund to provide immediate support to restaurant and bar workers impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic in Hawaiʻi. 
 
This financial assistance will help local restaurant and bar workers secure meals for their families, while also aiding in the economic recovery of restaurants during this time. Workers affected by the COVID-19 restaurant closures can apply for the assistance on the HFWF site (www.HawaiiFoodandWineFestival.com) and will be eligible on a first come, first served basis. A Visa card valued at $250 will be issued via U.S. mail, which they can use at local restaurants throughout the state (some restrictions apply). Any restaurant that can accept Visa credit cards will be able to accept this card as a form of payment.
 
Hawaiʻi Food & Wine Festival has raised nearly $100,000 from corporate and individual sponsors, and community donations through a social media crowdfunding campaign called the #ALOHAChallenge. The goal is to raise a minimum of $250,000 to provide about 10,000 meals. One hundred percent of all funds generated from the campaign will be used to provide meals for restaurant workers.
 
Visa cards will be available to restaurant and bar employees who meet these criteria:

  1. A current resident of the State of Hawai‘i and must provide valid Hawai‘i State Driver's License or Hawai‘i State Identification Card number;
  2. Worked full- or part-time basis in the restaurant or bar industry for at least the past 90 days prior to being furloughed or laid-off due to COVID-19;
  3. Employment in the restaurant or bar industry have had to be the primary source of income for the last year;
  4. Have experienced a decrease in wage or loss of job on or after March 17, 2020; and
  5. Must provide copies of paystubs. 1. Paystub dated December 17, 2019 or earlier, and 2. Last paystub received (pay period must include March 17, 2020).
The Visa card will be awarded on a first-come-first-serve basis to those individuals who meet the eligibility criteria listed above. Kokua Restaurant Workers' Fund has the right to reject any application to disqualify any individuals suspected of providing false information. Limit one card fund per person. Application will be accepted through June 30, 2020 or until funds run out.
 
“The lifeline of Hawai‘i Food & Wine is our local culinary industry — the restaurants, chefs and their ‘ohana (staff),” said Denise Yamaguchi, founder and CEO of HFWF. “With many restaurants laying off 80-90% of their employees who live paycheck to paycheck, we felt a responsibility to step up and help our restaurants and their workers so that the culinary industry here can continue to thrive when the pandemic subsides.”
 
The HFWF mission is to spotlight Hawai‘i as a culturally-rich destination by producing world-class culinary experiences that support the farmers, students, chefs and people who call Hawai‘i home. In keeping with the mission, HFWF is pivoting its execution to support the Hawai‘i culinary industry during this unprecedented time. The Festival will continue to evolve to preserve the current food culture that has been created since the Festival’s launch in 2011.
 
Donate or learn more about the Kokua Restaurant Workers’ Fund via www.HawaiiFoodandWineFestival.com. Follow HFWF for updates on the #ALOHAChallenge on Instagram/Twitter @HIFoodWineFest and Facebook at hawaiifoodandwinefestival.

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