AMHERST, Mass. (WWLP) – Restaurants in western Massachusetts are figuring out the best way to continue serving a meal amid COVID-19 and social distancing protocols.
Bistro 63 in Amherst is not built for takeout and delivery service, but the outbreak is forcing everyone out of their comfort zone.
Immediately when restaurants were shut down, owner Rasif Rafiq, was moved by the impact it had on his staff. He noticed filing for unemployment was taking longer than expected, and industry-wide servers, bartenders and hostesses were struggling.
That day, he started the “Shift Meal Project” bringing the idea of giving a free meal to any worker in the restaurant business who is struggling.
What he found as the project rolled out — was that kind acts motivate generosity. Money and food donations stared pouring in, driving the project further than he ever anticipated.
“We initially thought we could do this for a couple of weeks, but the community has raised enough money we can do it at least until May 4,” Rafiq told 22News. “Shannon from Farmer and the Cheese came by with huge bags of produce, our other vendors and friends have been really, really generous.”
If you are a food business worker who is struggling, Bistro 63 is providing 30 free meals every Sunday and Wednesday for as long as they can.
If you wish to donate to the Shift Meals Project, you can find them on GoFundMe.