News

TX Restaurant Relief Fund Awards Grants to More Than 400 Texas Restaurants

May 5
2020

The Fund has raised more than $2M to support Texas independent restaurateurs and their employees

(AUSTIN, TX) – In response to one of the most unparalleled times in our history, the Texas Restaurant Association’s Education Foundation (TRAEF) established the TX Restaurant Relief Fund to provide immediate financial support to Texas’ independent restaurateurs and their employees amidst the COVID-19 crisis. After five weeks, the fund has raised $2.2 million and distributed grants to more than 400 restaurants across Texas, crossing 20% of the initiative’s fundraising goal. TRAEF’s goal is to raise $10 million.  

The Texas Restaurant Association (TRA) continues to be at the forefront of leading through this crisis, working with local and state government to ensure that restaurants reopen their dining rooms safely while continuing to provide takeout, delivery, and retail food to their local communities. Concurrently, the TX Restaurant Relief Fund initiative of the TRAEF set out to raise $10 Million to support Texas independent restaurants and their employees. 

“Restaurants need help now more than ever before as they fight for their own survival,” said Dr. Emily Williams Knight, President and CEO of the Texas Restaurant Association and Education Foundation. “These grants provide independently owned establishments with emergency access to funds to keep them in operation and to support their employees. The generosity of individuals and companies from within and out of our industry has been overwhelming. The restaurants benefitting from these grants have not only been able to stay open, but many have participated in programs to feed first responders across Texas, continuing the tradition of restaurants being there for their communities in a crisis”. 

In addition to independent donations, organizations providing corporate gifts and grants that have contributed to the $2.2 Million raised for the TX Restaurant Relief Fund thus far have included ExxonMobil, Texas Mutual Insurance, the Wholesale Beer Distributors of Texas, Republic National Distribution Company, Spoetzl Brewery/Shiner Beer, and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas. On March 27, El Arroyo organized a livestream concert that surged individual donations. These funds have been distributed to more than 400 independently owned restaurants across more than 65 counties in Texas. 

“Each independent restaurant the Fund has helped has expressed their immense gratitude fto the many people and organization who have contributed to the TX Restaurant Relief Fund initiative,” said Joe Monastero, Chief Strategist and Operations Officer of the Texas Restaurant Association and Education Foundation. “There are many more in need, however, especially as we enter the critical phase of carefully reopening our dining rooms. Our team, along with the TRAEF’s Board of Trustees, are working diligently to raise $10 million. Hitting that goal will provide help to more than 2,000 Texas independent restaurants and their employees.” 

“This is the best news I’ve heard all week,” said Denise Hernandez of True Flavors Catering in San Antonio. “This grant will without a doubt go towards helping keep our doors open and our employees working. We are extremely thankful for the generosity of Shiner Beer. During this time of crisis we have had to pivot our business model in order to find new ways of innovation in order to keep our doors open.” 

This is great news! This will certainly help us keep our doors open and pay our employees,” said Jhonatan Aldama of Kesos Tacos in Austin. “When no one knows what tomorrow holds for us, we want to be an escape for our customers while they enjoy their tacos. We are doing our best to maintain as many employees as possible, by being creative with sales, curbside, delivery, beer to go, and family packs. Our mission right now is providing for our employees and our community. Thank you so much for the grant!” 

The TRA calls on industry’s suppliers, distributors, allied vendor partners, and other corporations to join their colleagues and support the TX Restaurant Relief Fund. Texans get more than 50% of their food from restaurants. With 10% of Texas restaurants closed permanently, and more expected in the coming weeks, now is the time to act in order to make a difference and to save Texas independent restaurants.

All donations to the TX Restaurant Relief Fund are fully tax-deductible, subject to applicable laws and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) regulations. Donations can be made by texting “TRRF” to 31996, via the Fund’s website, https://www.txrestaurant.org/TXRestaurantReliefFund, or by emailing trrfdonations@txrestaurant.org

About the Texas Restaurant Association Education Foundation (TRAEF) 
Established in 1994 by the Texas Restaurant Association, the TRA Education Foundation is a 501c3 non-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. 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. 

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