The Mayor of Flavortown is giving back to restaurant workers around the country.
Guy Fieri has helped raise more than $20 million by partnering with the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation, he announced in an interview with TMZ. He and the organization have been sending restaurant workers $500 grants through the newly created Restaurant Employee Relief Fund.
After less than two months, Fieri has awarded more than 40,000 grants. During the interview on Thursday, he said the total amount they have raised is $21.5 million.
“I started thinking about my brothers and sisters in the restaurant business, and a bunch of restaurants that I was closing — we gotta do something,” he said.
The “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” star said he personally reached out to several food service companies, like Pepsi, Coke and Uber Eats, to donate money to the charitable cause.
“I started sending personal video invitations to all the heavy-hitter CEOs that are involved in the restaurant business,” he said. “As long as the money comes in, we’re going to continue to give these grants.”
Most restaurants and bars around the country have been closed in the wake of the shelter-in-place rules during the coronavirus pandemic. Certain locations have been able to stay in business with curbside pickup and delivery, and more seek to reopen as the restrictions relax. Fieri urged people to order from small, mom-and-pop restaurants and show their support.
“They need your takeout, they need your delivery so if they’re available, please go give them some biz,” he said. “It helps pay the electricity and the insurance.”