Today, ExxonMobil gifted the Texas Restaurant Association’s TX Restaurant Relief Fund, an initiative of the Texas Restaurant Association Education Foundation (TRAEF), $100,000 to support Houston-area restaurants, their staff, and facilitate a gift of thanks to COVID-19 first responders. Established in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, The TX Restaurant Relief Fund provides immediate financial support to Texas’ independent restauranteurs and their employees. These funds will be used to keep restaurant operations open and bring furloughed workers back, while also providing first-responders in the Houston area with meals to show appreciation for all they are doing during this unprecedented crisis.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has had a catastrophic impact on restaurants, a critical part of Texas’ food supply chain,” said Dr. Emily Williams Knight, President and CEO of the Texas Restaurant Association and Education Foundation. “In every crisis, restaurants are often the first to help feed the front line, including hospital staff and first responders. We are incredibly grateful to ExxonMobil for this grant, which both supports Houston restaurants, their employees, and enables them to feed frontline responders during this unprecedented time.
“Through this initiative, participating restaurants will be able to hire back up to 50 percent of their furloughed employees. This donation demonstrates that by working together we can keep the heartbeat of our communities – food and medicine – in service for all,” said Knight.
“We want to thank those teams and individuals working around the clock to look after the people of the greater Houston area,” said Linda DuCharme, president of ExxonMobil Upstream Integrated Solutions. “In addition to supporting health care workers and first responders, we also want to help out area restaurants and their employees who’ve been hard hit by the pandemic.”
Prominent Houston area chefs will participate in this endeavor, preparing and delivering approximately 6,000 individually packaged meals to frontline responders at Texas Medical Center member hospitals, the Houston Police Foundation, the Fire Fighters Foundation of Houston and the Spring Fire Department.
"Houston is a foodie town, and our restaurants reflect the city's diverse culinary tastes and vibrant culture. The COVID-19 public health crisis is having a devastating effect on the men and women who work in the foodservice industry," said Sylvester Turner, mayor of the City of Houston. "I applaud ExxonMobil for its generous donation to assist restaurants and to feed first responders.
“I also want to encourage the public to support local restaurants through delivery and curbside takeout. If we work together, we will get through this challenging time and continue to be Houston Strong," said Turner.
The Greater Houston Restaurant Association, the local chapter of the Texas Restaurant Association, will be working with local area chefs to coordinate the schedule of meals to be delivered to first responders in the coming weeks. Each day, 100-200 meals will be prepared and delivered by restaurants benefitting from ExxonMobil’s generosity.
About the Texas Restaurant Association
The Texas Restaurant Association was formed in 1937 to serve as the advocate in Texas and the indispensable resource for the foodservice industry. Today, as a leading business association, TRA represents the state’s $70.6 billion restaurant industry, which is comprised of more than 50,000 locations and a workforce of 1.4 million employees. Along with the Texas Restaurant Association Education Foundation, the Association represents, educates and, promotes the growing industry.
About the Texas Restaurant Association Education Foundation
Established in 1994 by the Texas Restaurant Association (TRA), the Texas Restaurant Association Education Foundation (TRAEF) is a 501(c)3 not for profit organization focused on providing the necessary resources to help restaurateurs confront educational and labor challenges with the latest innovations in education, technology, and training. It is the workforce development arm of the TRA.
The Foundation’s mission is to provide educational opportunities to build and maintain a strong professional foodservice workforce in Texas. The organization’s flagship program is Texas ProStart, an industry-based, two-year high school culinary arts and restaurant management curriculum. Texas ProStart is currently in more than 150 Texas high schools, reaching more than 15,000 students annually. The Foundation has partnered with KidsFit to bring students real-world culinary experience and encourage restaurants to offer an expanded menu with options that are child-friendly yet healthy. In collaboration with Feeding Texas, the TRAEF is working to expand training preparation for a variety of populations to find a career in the restaurant industry.
Exxon Mobil Corporation, one of the largest publicly traded international energy company, uses technology and innovation to help meet the world’s growing energy needs. ExxonMobil engages in a range of philanthropic activities that advance education, with a focus on math and science in the United States, promote women as catalysts for economic development, and combat malaria. In 2018, together with its employees and retirees, ExxonMobil, its divisions and affiliates, and the ExxonMobil Foundation provided $211 million in contributions worldwide. To learn more, visit exxonmobil.com and the Energy Factor.