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Food Service Industry Updates

Industry Help Group is Big-hearted to the CORE


When Laura Sammarco’s doctor confirmed her symptoms were indicative of COVID-19, she was put on quarantine and unable to work her restaurant position. And because her husband, a union carpenter who works in hospitals, had possible exposure, he was also unable to work.

It was a scary time for both.

A co-worker suggested Laura apply for a grant with CORE and she was approved within 10 days. CORE (Children of Restaurant Employees) is a non-profit organization that serves families of food and beverage service employees needing support as a result of health crises and issues, like the health crisis and dire economic situation our country is currently in.

“When CORE called and told me I was approved for a grant, I literally cried,” Sammarco, who resides in Illinois, said. “It was light in a dark, doubtful time. I was so relieved; it was such a blessing.”

The funds the Sammarcos received helped with basic household overhead — paying a month’s mortgage and supporting groceries for the family.

Since 2004, CORE has raised more than $6 million, granting $325,000 this year — the majority in the past six weeks and across 49 states — to people needing help after being impacted one way or another by the coronavirus. Qualifying families can apply for grants that cover expenses like rent or mortgage; medical bills and supplies; child needs like diapers and formula; among other things.

Wisconsin’s Erika Braatz and her husband, both restaurant industry workers, lost their jobs when the pandemic hit, leaving them worried how they’d support their four young children.

“We didn’t even know how we were going to buy diapers and formula. We go through 200 diapers every two or three weeks,” she said. “On top of the layoffs, their roof caved in in early March when a massive snowstorm hit their community.

CORE was there for them.

“CORE has taken a huge weight off my families’ shoulders,” Braatz said. “We had no idea how we’d even be able to afford our next rent. The stimulus check helped a little, but it wasn’t much. This completely supported us for the next month. We don’t have to worry about where we will be living.”


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