Guy Fieri Raised Over $20 Million for Out-of-Work Restaurant Workers

Robin Zlotnick - Author

May 8 2020, Updated 4:03 p.m. ET

guy fieri
Source: Getty Images

Guy Fieri may be most well-known as the Mayor of Flavortown and one of the most successful Food Network hosts of all time, but he's also got a long history of charitable efforts and generous acts of kindness. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, restaurant workers all over the world found themselves out of work.

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It's a world that Guy Fieri knows well, so he immediately stepped up. On Thursday, May 7, he appeared on TMZ Live to explain that he partnered with the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation to launch the Restaurant Employee Relief Fund. 

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And not only that, but he managed to raise over $20 million to seed that fund and help give struggling restaurant workers everywhere a little room to breathe. Yes, this happened in less than two months. All hail Guy Fieri!

Guy told TMZ that he called up major corporations involved in hospitality and food services, and through his efforts and the efforts of those that work with him, they have awarded more than 40,0000 grants of $500 each to workers who are "facing extraordinary hardship due to the pandemic."

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Restaurant workers can apply for the one-time grant, and others can donate, at Applications are reviewed by the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF), and those who qualify receive the grant money "as soon as possible." 

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The restaurant industry has had to totally transform in the few short months that the world has been rocked by the COVID-19 pandemic. But Guy believes the industry will survive one way or another. 

Plenty of restaurants are implementing contactless delivery and pickup options, which have allowed them to stay in business and keep some employees on. Obviously, things are different and will be for a while.

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In the meantime, Guy Fieri is making sure restaurant workers get some much-needed support. On Friday, May 8, the NRAEF announced on Instagram that they are sending out 10,000 new award notifications to restaurant workers who have applied for grants. 

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While Guy Fieri is spearheading this effort, he is, of course, not doing it all on his own. Several big celebrities and companies have teamed up with him to help raise money for the relief fund. 

Diplo, Dillon Francis, Live Nation, and even Corona, as in the beer, have all helped with the fundraising efforts, and it has made all the difference. 

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The fund may have already $20 million in two months, but they show no signs of slowing down anytime soon. That means that tens of thousands of restaurant workers all over the country will soon have a little bit of a financial cushion during this hard time. 

We have no idea when or if things are going to "get back to normal," so it's up to everybody to help support the most vulnerable in our society. Restaurant workers historically have worked very hard for extremely low wages and an unfair reliance on tips. They deserve all the support we can give them. 

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