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EATER: Some Restaurant Relief Funds Are So Overwhelmed With Applications They’ve Stopped Taking New Ones

An unprecedented demand for support is overwhelming nonprofits.

As unemployment numbers continue to soar, dwarfing previous records, the restaurant industry is hemorrhaging workers, many of whom are turning to nonprofits for relief

March’s $2 trillion stimulus package includes a number of provisions aimed at providing relief for hospitality workers, but just who qualifies for funding is still unclear, and even those who do qualify for funding are finding the program lacking. As a result, nonprofits are receiving an unprecedented influx of applications for support, and many are unable to keep up.

According to an article in EATER, some of the most sought-after relief programs have stopped taking new applications.

After clicking the “Apply for Aid” link on the National Restaurant Association’s Restaurant Employee Relief Fund page, a message eventually appears: “Due to extremely high volume the Restaurant Employee Relief Fund website ( is experiencing technical issues. We are working quickly to solve the problem and appreciate your patience.”


On the section of the James Beard Foundation website dedicated to the JBF Food and Beverage Industry Relief Fund for independent restaurants, a message reads: “Due to an overwhelming response within hours of opening, the Foundation has suspended the application for the JBF Food and Beverage Industry Relief Fund at this time.”

In one week, the Restaurant Opportunities Center United received nearly 10,000 financial-assistance applications. They have since closed the fund to new applications and are now focused exclusively on processing their backlog.

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