RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Ardent Craft Ales is teaming up with Sysco, The Holli Fund and Digital Minerva to launch a food bank for restaurant workers impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Ardent Helps food bank is free for restaurant staff that has been laid-off, furloughed or are suffering from reduced hours.
“A lot of restaurant workers were unprepared for this epidemic and layoffs, closures, and furloughs that have resulted. We’re just happy to do a little bit to ease that pain, that burden," said Tom Sullivan, co-founder of Ardent Craft Ales.
About five pallets of food were delivered on Monday, packed with eggs, milk and other products. The stock at the bank varies, based on what Sysco happens to deliver. There were 70 restaurant workers who placed orders to be picked up on the first day.
“We were overstocked and were looking for either to move the product out, but we did not want to dump it, whatsoever,” said Scott Pritchett with Sysco.
He explains that the effort originally started in Harrisonburg with Pale Fire Brewery. Since then, it started in Charlottesville and now Richmond. There are plans to expand the program to Lynchburg, Roanoke and eventually Northern Virginia.
“These are hardworking people that, when they’re losing their jobs, don’t have another place to go and pick up odd jobs in the environment we’re in right now,” Pritchett added.
Some restaurant workers picking up on Tuesday said they were grateful for the food bank.
“I have four kids at home, and they are going through this food like there’s no tomorrow,” said April Osborne.
“We all need to stick together, and pull together through this time, and make it work,” said Emily Callaham.
Sysco plans to deliver more food to Ardent this coming Thursday.
Orders can be placed online seven days a week and pick-up times will be 2-8 p.m Tuesday-Sunday at Ardent Craft Ales’ taproom. The brewhouse also serves as the site for the Richmond food bank.
Orders can be placed, HERE. Participants are asked to show their most recent pay stub to confirm eligibility upon pick up.
A variety of food will be donated by Sysco and Ardent is accepting shelf-stable food donations to support the program and monetary donations to directly benefit affected restaurant workers via grants from the Holli Fund.
Copyright 2020 WWBT. All rights reserved.