St. Louis charity to start sending checks to help local employees, business owners during COVID-19 crisis

A St. Louis Community Foundation fund will provide short term relief to employees and owners of independent bars, restaurants and shops in the area.

Debbie Monterrey
March 27, 2020 - 10:05 am

The federal stimulus package should provide some relief for those out of work but needs are immediate and one St. Louis charity plans to start sending help in the form of checks to some St. Louis area business owners and employees as soon as Friday.

In just seven days, St. Louis Community Foundation was able to launch the Gateway Resilience Fund to provide relief for employees and owners in the St. Louis region. It's available for local contractors, owners and workers of an independent bar, restaurant, entertainment venue, retail establishment, or other small locally owned business in the St. Louis region.

Roo Yawitz, owner of the Gramophone in the Grove, says the restaurant community in St. Louis is pretty tight-knit. One of his mountain-biking friends is James Beard Award-winning chef Gerard Craft. They saw the crisis looming in the hospitality industry even before the shut-downs and wanted to do something to help the workers who would inevitably be laid off.

Related: Checks could be sent out in next 2-6 weeks in coronavirus recovery plan

Yawitz says as of Thursday, $650,000 was raised and $40,000 of that fund will start going out on Friday to help businesses and employees in need.
"Fortunately, I had a relationship with the St. Louis Community Foundation, which has been around for a century, and they grant out millions of dollars a year to charities and causes," says Yawitz. "I got in touch with them, and we basically turned a 100-year old community foundation into a web start-up."

The fund provides short term monetary relief to employees and owners of independent bars, restaurants and shops in the St. Louis area. The fund will consider covering personal, family, living or funeral expenses incurred as a result of the outbreak of COVID-19.

You can find out if you are eligible for relief from the fund, here.

© 2020 KMOX (Entercom). All rights reserved