By now, many of us have read the beautiful and grim article written by Gabrielle Hamilton for the NYTimes. Her experience is all too familiar. Restaurants and our people need help right now and there's not a quick fix or single solution.
While there are plenty of general relief funds, go-fund-me's and other ways of donating cash directly to restaurants, we wanted to use our individual resources to create a unique way to raise money for a good cause.
So we created Merch4Relief–– to give people an easy way to support their favorite restaurants while giving them something in return for their contribution.
We're producing everything at cost and passing 95% of the profits directly to the restaurant you purchase from. We're leaving it up to each restaurant to decide how to use the funds in a way that has the most impact for their business and team.
That could be:
- using their wholesale buying power to purchase groceries for their staff potentially feeding them for weeks
- giving it directly to employees ineligible for unemployment benefits (like undocumented workers)
- paying rent or bills required to re-open
5% of the remaining profits we'll give directly to a general restaurant worker relief fund or an unemployed industry artist who donated time to creating the design. We felt it best to reserve a portion of all sales to ensure funds will go to help affected industry workers during this time.
If we're being honest, we are not a silver bullet or a lifeline. The problem facing restaurants is incredibly complex and nothing short of significant government intervention will solve for that. We are proud to say that our design team is entirely comprised of current and former restaurant workers. Through this project we've also been able to help keep our partner print facility (a local small business of 6 people) operational, while saving a few jobs along the way.
This whole project happened on the fly and it is constantly evolving. In our first 31 days, we've added close to 50 total partners and have generated over $150,000 in additional revenue for restaurants across the country.