As the nation looks to help out as Hurricane Harvey has hit parts of Texas with life-threatening weather conditions, restaurant operators are jumping in on the assistance efforts. From gift card collections to handing out meals, here are some of the ways they’re helping out during and after the storm.
Gift card collections
Restaurants in coastal towns familiar with the cost of repairs and rebuilding are banding together to collect gift cards to send to Texas. In New Orleans, more than 30 restaurants (and counting) are accepting donations of gift cards to stores like Home Depot, CVS, Target and more. The cards will be given to Houston restaurant groups, which will distribute them to restaurants and hospitality workers affected by the storm. In Hilton Head, S.C., all Coastal Restaurants and Bars locations are helping out in a similar way, asking for gift cards from the same types of retailers in smaller denominations so the group can help as many people as possible.
Some operations are pledging to match donations made by their customers. Black Restaurant Group, which runs several restaurants around Washington, D.C., plans to add a donation line to customer checks at all of its properties. The restaurant group’s foundation will collect donations for two weeks and will match the funds up to $100,000. Diners can also mail in a check or donate online through the foundation.
Texas salad chain Snappy Salads is donating this week's proceeds from its Change For Change collection at registers in its Dallas and Forth Worth-area locations to those affected by the hurricane, the amount of which the chain will match up to $10,000. And in addition to making a $250,000 donation to Hurricane Harvey relief, Starbucks is letting employees who make personal contributions request matching funds through the company’s Partner Match program.
Perks for pitching in
Some customers are getting something more than a thank you for giving back. Kate Weiser Chocolate in Dallas is trading chocolate for water, offering up a free two-piece box of chocolates for every case of bottled water dropped off at its Texas locations. The water will be donated to a local shelter that will temporarily house those displaced by the storm. Lazarus Brewing in Austin, Texas, offered free beer in exchange for items donated early on during the storm, and Texas pizza chain Cane Rosso is raffling off a “Year of Pizza” VIP card that entitles the holder to one free pizza a week for an entire year. The limited amount of raffle tickets are $50 each, and 100% of the proceeds will help Hurricane Harvey relief efforts.
Feed the hungry
Chefs across Texas and nationwide are joining in on the ground to help out in the kitchen. Chef Jose Andres arrived in Houston to serve relief workers dinner earlier this week and is using his nonprofit World Central Kitchen to set up a kitchen in Houston where chefs and others in the culinary industry can volunteer to serve food and donate needed kitchen supplies. Austin food truck Crazy Mary’s trekked to Rockport, Texas, to cook and hand out meals to those affected in this smaller community by the storm. And chef Nina Compton’s Compere Lapin in New Orleans tweeted last Friday that the restaurant would treat any evacuees staying in the area to dinner or brunch on the house.