Officials with the El Paso Community Foundation, announced Thursday the arrival of two grants totaling $100,000, allowing the Get Shift Done for El Paso initiative to continue providing paid shift work for laid-off hospitality workers during the novel coronavirus pandemic.
The grants were made by the Get Shift Done for North America fund, which was launched with flagship national supporters Capital One, the Sarah and Ross Perot Jr. Foundation, Access Healthcare and Shiftsmart.
The fund provides seed money to match funds with participating cities implementing their own hunger relief programs. El Paso presented strong partners and a large need at the local food bank which allowed the program to successfully launch in the community.
Get Shift Done for El Paso hires unemployed hospitality workers to perform paid shift work — at $10 an hour — at the El Pasoans Fighting Hunger food bank.
So far, Get Shift Done for El Paso has around 2,000 people registered who have worked over 60,000 hours.
“The Get Shift Done initiative first began with the idea that the program would be a short-term relief effort during the pandemic crisis, but there was a much greater need and will continue at least through the end of the year,” said Patrick Brandt, Co-founder of Get Shift Done and President of Shiftsmart.
“We are grateful for the continued support in the El Paso community allowing the initiative to provide a temporary solution to the unemployment spike and provide additional hunger relief in the area,” said Anurag Jain, Co-Founder of Get Shift Done, Chairman of Access Healthcare, an initial financial support, and Chairman Emeritus of the Board of North Texas Food Bank.
The food service industry is among the hardest hit in El Paso. About 7,300 hospitality workers in El Paso were unemployed as of July 2020, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, a nearly 20 percent unemployment increase compared to July 2019.
“When we began working with Get Shift Done we hoped it would be a short-term solution to provide supplemental income to El Paso’s displaced hospitality workers while adding extra support to provide meals to families in need,” said Eric Pearson, President and CEO of the El Paso Community Foundation.
“What we’ve seen is the continued need to provide work opportunities along with meeting the demand for food is not slowing down.”
The El Paso Community Foundation continues to accept donations in an effort to expand its offerings to workers and provide more support sorting, packing and distributing food to the community.
“We still need workers to help us pack, distribute and prepare boxes of food for our community,” said Susan Goodell, CEO of the El Pasoans Fighting Hunger Food Bank. “The Get Shift Done initiative has been a much-needed source to help us process food and get it to the tables of those in need. With their help, we have been able to have more food ready for distribution and we are incredibly grateful.”
For Ian Meza, Get Shift Done for El Paso has allowed him to support his 6-year-old son, 2-year-old daughter, and his mother after having lost his job as a server and bartender during the pandemic. Now he is helping train and manage people every day on the shifts he is working.
“Being able to help people is rewarding,” Meza said. “No matter what, it’s about trying your best.”
Restaurant and hospitality workers interested in learning more about the employment opportunities provided by this initiative may do so at this link.
Get Shift Done for El Paso is a partnership between the El Paso Community Foundation, Bank of America, Albertsons, Cardwell Foundation, Prudential Financial, United Way of El Paso County, El Paso Electric, ONE Gas Foundation, TFCU, GECU, the El Pasoans Fighting Hunger Food Bank and other local food supply organizations.
Get Shift Done originated in the Dallas area, and El Paso was its second location. It is now in 11 cities, including Washington, D.C., New Orleans, Little Rock, Arkansas, Austin and Houston.