The Hispanic Chamber of Commerce St. Louis Foundation has partnered with BJC HealthCare and Affinia Healthcare to launch Carryout for La Comunidad, an initiative to help two groups hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic.
U.S. Latinos are among those hardest hit by recent pay cuts and furloughs, according to the Pew Research Center. A recent survey found that about 8 million Hispanic people were employed in restaurants and other service-sector businesses in the U.S., which have been losing money due to the coronavirus. About 49 percent of Hispanic people surveyed said they or someone in their household has experienced a pay cut, lost a job or both because of the pandemic, compared with 33 percent of all U.S. adults.
Carryout for La Comunidad uses money donated from the community to purchase meals from Hispanic Chamber of Commerce member restaurants, according to a press release. Those meals are given to health care workers, patients and families in the BJC HealthCare and Affinia Healthcare systems.
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“With this initiative, we at the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce St. Louis Foundation can support our member restaurants during these stressful times while offering relief to the hardworking heroes at the BJC hospitals and Affinia Healthcare who are on the frontlines of the battle against COVID-19” said Karlos Ramirez, president and CEO of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce St. Louis Foundation, in the release.
Gabriela Ramirez-Arellano, Hispanic Chamber of Commerce business counselor and owner of the Mexican restaurant Don Emiliano’s, says the last few weeks have been difficult for Don Emiliano’s and for many other business owners in the metro area.
“We are rotating employees to make sure they are all still able to earn a living for their families and doing what we can to stay afloat, but it’s not easy when people are afraid to leave their homes or even have delivery drivers drop off things to them,” she says. “Every night we are reviewing the situation, but if anything is clear, it’s that we have to find a way to stay open. As more restaurants in the area are closing, we have started to offer free meals to employees now out of work, and the numbers are growing.”
Donations can be made here through the registered 501(c)3 foundation and are tax deductible.
Hispanic Chamber of Commerce St. Louis Foundation, hccstl.com/hcc-stl-foundation