Montreal Restaurant Workers Relief Fund

Joe Beef

Montreal Restaurant Workers Relief Fund reopens, runs contest

Laid-off staff can now apply again and new partnerships and a raffle with pretty sweet prizes has been announced.

Applications are back open! After the first wave of donations to the Montreal Restaurant Workers Relief Fund (MTLRWRF) amassed roughly $45,000, the application process was briefly postponed to allow time to process the requests and allocate the funds to the first 350 applicants.

During that time, the fund has continued to collect individual donations but has expanded its fundraising efforts by developing partnerships with various restaurants and other local businesses. 

Perhaps the most lucrative of such partnerships is with St-Henri restaurant Elena. The restaurant released an online-only cookbook with recipes for some of their most iconic dishes –– 100 per cent of proceeds went directly to the MTLRWRF. The book, which garnered international attention, has been praised by Bon Appétit magazine, as well as Montreal native and Queer Eye personality Antoni Porowski and sales to date have raised over $20,000 for the cause. 

Additionally, the organizers of the fund, along with wine importer John Bambara, Restaurant Joe Beef and RAW wine have partnered together to create a raffle. Entry for the raffle requires a $50 donation to the MTLRWRF and the prize is a six-bottle case of wine from Bambara, dinner for four at Joe Beef, and six passes to next year’s RAW wine event.

Other partnerships include restaurant merch available through Brunette (a webshop dedicated to Montreal restaurant merch), partial proceeds from wine sales (through private importers like Wino, Rézin, la QV and Planvin, among others) and coffee from Traffic Coffee roasters and Structure Coffee. A full list of all the partnerships and ways to support the fund while shopping locally will become available soon. 

Including the first round of fundraising and the current efforts and partnerships, Doucette and her team have been able to grow the fund to nearly $100,000 and are aiming to provide immediate support to an additional 175 applicants. The fund, which is now officially recognized as a non-profit organization, is able to actively allocate funds with minimal delays. 

Organizers of the fund are also urging restaurant workers who are collecting benefits from EI or the CERB to continue to apply for the fund. While the measures from the federal government offer much-needed support, the fund is still available to offer financial support on a more immediate timeline. 

With continued support from the community — which means individuals continuing to make donations and local business partnerships — the MTLRWRF hopes that the fund will be able to continue rolling out financial aid on a continuing basis and provide support until the industry is back on its feet. ■

Read our interview with Montreal Restaurant Workers Relief Fund co-founder Kaitlin Doucette here.

You can also learn more, apply for funding or donate directly on the Montreal Restaurant Workers Relief Fund website.

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