After the pandemic forced Anna Valero to furlough 75 employees, the owner of Hook Hall in Washington, D.C., did not sit idle. Instead, she turned the bar and events space into an industry support hub called Hook Hall Helps. In the first weeks of the pandemic, the program began fielding food donations from D.C. restaurants and later mobilized a network of chefs to create care packages for hospitality workers in the area. Hook Hall also partnered with the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington to set up a fund to reimburse restaurants providing the meals. The goal was to keep industry workers fed and restaurant staff employed.
Hook Hall Helps provided more than 10,000 meals from March until June and had raised more than $750,000 via the Worker Relief Fund. It paused over the summer but restarted in December and now has a second donation center in Northern Virginia.