Economic experts have said the hospitality and travel industry is among the worst affected by the pandemic, as travel demand has plummeted and thousands of employees across Texas have been out of work.
But some relief is on the way for hundreds of families in parts of DFW.
The Hotel Association of Tarrant County (HATC) is distributing complimentary meals to hotel industry employees impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.
The event runs from 10 a.m. until 12 p.m. at the Sheraton Fort Worth Downton Hotel on 1701 Commerce Street in Fort Worth.
The event is open to all employees of any hotel property located in Tarrant County that has either been laid off, had hours reduced, or furloughed due the economic impact of COVID-19.
Each impacted employee that comes to the distribution will receive a bag of food, two loaves of bread, a case of tostadas, and a case of coffee.
Upon arrival at the hotel, employees and their families are asked to drive through the hotel's main driveway off Commerce Street. Once parked under the porte-cochere, HATC is asking that they follow these guidelines:
- For everyone's safety, individuals attending the distribution must stay in their vehicles. This will help maintain six-foot social distancing guidelines. Leaving cars to socialize is strictly prohibited.
- Wear a mask
- After pulling into the distribution area, please put your vehicle in park and unlock your trunk for food to be loaded. Volunteers will not load food into vehicles until in park. Please stay in your vehicle.
- Attendees will not be required to fill out a registration form to receive food.
- Stay alert and follow the guidance of HATC volunteers as they direct cars through the distribution area.
"We just want to let them know that we still care about them, we can't wait to come back and work in our hotels. We just didn't want anything to go by without them still knowing that we care and we're here to help,” said Julie Faver-Dylla, HATC executive director. “This industry and the way they pull together – they are strong."
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Volunteers with HATC have gathered food items over the last month through various food drive and partnerships.
"There are more than 400 hotels across Tarrant County, ranging from full-service resorts to select-service properties, representing most of the global hotel brands. All of them have been impacted over the last five months as travel demand plummeted and thousands of employees have been out of work," said John Yeung, General Manager at the Sheraton Fort Worth Downtown Hotel and Chairman of the Board at HATC. "Though many of our hotels have slowly reopened their doors, they are not back at their full staffing levels. It will take years for the hospitality industry to fully regain the momentum we had going into 2020. With so many of our colleagues still not working, providing this food for them was important for our members."