Relief Fund Providing Emergency Aid to Montreal Restaurant Workers

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MONTREAL — Hospitality workers in Montreal have come together to launch the Montreal Restaurant Workers Relief Fund (MRWRF) to help workers laid off as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Co-founded by Kaitlin Doucette and Jessica Cytryn, the organization is being run by about 30 volunteers, including restaurant workers, McGill law students and non-profit experts.

The organization has established a GoFundMe page, which has raised more than $43,000 to date, with the goal of helping displaced workers meet immediate and urgent needs, such as groceries, medication and other health and personal-hygiene products.

“We started this fund because many of us are restaurant workers,” says Doucette, who was recently laid off from her job as wine director for Montreal-based Olive & Gourmando Restaurant Group. “I saw many of my colleagues terrified about even how to get groceries for self-isolation. I wanted to create a platform to share wealth for people who had a couple dollars to contribute, so we could pool that and provide immediate financial relief to workers.”

MRWRF closed the first round of relief applications on March 19 after receiving 349 applications from restaurant workers in less than 24 hours and subsequently raised the $41,500 needed to fund relief for these applicants.

Funds of $50 to $150 will be provided to selected applicants based on their needs and the organization plans to reopen applications in the near future. More information is available on the MRWRF’s website.

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