Finally, a Relief Fund for Philly Restaurant Workers That Isn’t a GoFundMe

The Pennsylvania Restaurant and Lodging Association built the Hospitality Assistance Response of Pennsylvania fund to help hospitality workers find some relief during the coronavirus crisis.


Hearthside in Collingswood | Photo provided

COVID-19 took a two-sided approach to attacking the restaurant industry. The pandemic left restaurant owners with empty dining rooms, forcing them to lay off their staff. And restaurant workers were left without a job. Plenty of crowd-funding initiatives were created by owners in an effort to help out their employees, but we’ve yet to see a real organized effort (aside from, you know, unemployment payouts and the $1,200 stimulus money) to help hospitality workers outside of the GoFundMe world.

Setting up a GoFundMe (and sites like it), of course, is all well and good, but they tend to be a bit opaque in terms of how they’re being paid out (especially the ones launched by non-restaurant owners) — which can be an iffy proposition for donors.

The PRLA launched a new relief fund for hospitality workers effected by the COVID-19 crisis, making it the first organized relief fund of its kind in Pennsylvania. It’s called the Hospitality Assistance Response of Pennsylvania (HARP), and applications for the relief fund will open tomorrow, April 23rd. It’s a donation-based fund (with initial donations from Tito’s Vodka and Yuengling) that will distribute “one-time, individual grants to unemployed hospitality industry workers on a first-come, first-serve basis, subject to the availability of funds,” according to a press release. “The PRLA will be accepting the first 1,000 applications, and more applications will be accepted as donations are brought in.

They’re continuing to seek donations with an immediate goal of reaching $250,000 by early May. According to the website, HARP will distribute one-time individual grants of up to $500 to our front-line industry employees during times of unforeseen hardship.

Donations can be made online or by texting HARP to 44-321; 100 percent of your donation goes directly to the fund and, therefore, fund recipients. Donations above $10,000 should contact [email protected].