NEW ORLEANS (press release) – In response to the impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the hospitality industry and its employees as well as the impact of Hurricane Laura, Emeril Lagasse Foundation is replacing its annual Boudin, Bourbon and Beer with a fundraising campaign supporting the Emeril Lagasse Foundation Hospitality Industry Relief Fund. Established with a contribution of $125,000 by the Foundation, the new initiative will take place throughout the month of September with funds directly benefiting hospitality industry employees across the Gulf Coast.
“The hospitality industry is experiencing a crisis, and the workers who have served in it through the years are in dire need of our help,” says Chef Emeril Lagasse. “I love this industry and its people, so many of whom have given their time and passion to support events like Boudin, Bourbon and Beer. Now it is our turn to give back to them.”
The Emeril Lagasse Foundation Hospitality Industry Relief Fund will provide individual assistance for industry workers, who are among the hardest hit by pandemic-related job loss. Funds raised will help pay for basic needs like shelter and food, medical and utility bills, and more. Emergency funds will also be available for those who suffered additional hardships in the wake of Hurricane Laura. Southern Smoke Foundation, a relief organization dedicated to supporting food and beverage industry workers, will oversee the collection of applications and distribute funds. Anyone who has worked in the food and beverage industry can apply for funding including chefs, bartenders, farmers, distillery workers and delivery drivers.
“I am proud to join the Emeril Lagasse Foundation Hospitality Industry Relief Fund in support of our fellow industry workers,” says Chef Chris Shepherd, Co-founder and Curator of Southern Smoke Foundation. “Chef Emeril has always been an advocate for the hardworking people who make up the food and beverage industry, and I’m grateful to be a part of this fundraising effort to help take care of our own.”
Throughout the month of September, donors can contribute via BoudinBourbonandBeer.com. While contributions are welcome in any amount, donors are encouraged to give $99 in lieu of purchasing a ticket to attend Boudin, Bourbon & Beer. Corporate donations are also welcome.
Emeril Lagasse Foundation has already dedicated $125,000 to kick-off the fund, which has been further supported by generous donations from longtime Boudin, Bourbon & Beer sponsors including Visit South Walton and Shipt.
In January 2020, the restaurant industry ranked as the nation’s second largest private employer, with over 15 million directly employed by restaurants, bars and other food service businesses. As of March 2020, nearly 7 million U.S. hospitality industry workers had been laid-off, cutting the industry workforce in half.
“This November would have been the 10th anniversary of Emeril Lagasse Foundation’s Boudin, Bourbon & Beer. Over the past ten years, the support of chefs, winemakers, mixologists and so many more members of the hospitality industry has been invaluable in putting together a celebration of Southern food benefiting youth education initiatives,” says Chef Emeril. “Since we cannot come together this year as we usually do for Boudin, Bourbon & Beer, let’s come together in support of the incredible people who work hard, day after day, in restaurants and bars. No donation is too big or too small to help the workers who need you now more than ever.”
For more information on the virtual campaign or to donate to the Emeril Lagasse Foundation Hospitality Relief Fund, please visit BoudinBourbonandBeer.com.