Numbers from the Texas Restaurant Association show a million jobs in Texas could be lost with restaurants across the state closed to protect the public in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
Fort Worth-based restaurateur Tim Love closed all 14 of his independent restaurants and told NBC 5 he laid off more than 350 employees this past week.
He’ll keep paying his management team of 46, including benefits, and will now shift his work to helping feed those who've lost their jobs and are in need of help.
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“As I told my team, I want to reflect back and say, 'how do we help others in this time of need?' 'Cause really that's what's gonna get us through, gonna build our spirits,” Love said.
“I’m more concerned about people who don't have money and who don't have jobs and don't have the capability to have income. We need to make sure they at least get a meal,” he said.
In an Instagram post, Love “vowed to take care of those who are in more dire straits by providing meals to those in need.”
He’ll do that by offering those without resources free hot lunch and dinner every weekday starting Monday, March 23, for as long as possible.
“I’m thinking about kids who don't have lunch because they're not in school. I’m thinking about the labor force in our restaurants and hospitality industry who have been laid off and usually operate on cash. I’m thinking about senior citizens who depend on senior centers to get their meals,” Love explained.
Food distributor Ben E. Keith is joining Love’s Community Hot Meal Program which is funded through sales four family meals for four at a cost of $150 family and delivered to customers’ doors. Love says all proceeds will benefit his free meal program.
Love says, as a husband, father and employer, he is concerned about the future but also believes “in times like this, people need to think, ‘how can they help people who are worse off than them?’ If we all do that and we all follow the rules, we'll get to the end of this. And when we get to the end of, it's gonna be great. And there is an end. We just don't quite know when it is yet, so we need to hunker down.”
COMMUNITY HOT MEAL PROGRAM
LUNCH: 12 p.m to 2 p.m.
DINNER: 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Behind 713 N. Main St.
Fort Worth, TX 76164