PRLA raised $257,627 for Hospitality Assistance Response of Pennsylvania (HARP) to fund 848 one-time grants of $250 to provide immediate emergency assistance to hospitality workers impacted by COVID-19. Founding sponsors, Tito’s Vodka and Yuengling, kicked off the first round of fundraising with the initial base donations.
Additional support from major donors Frank B. Fuhrer Wholesale, Origlio Beverage, Breakthru Beverage Group, Big Barker, United Way of Pennsylvania, and Lehigh Valley Restaurant Group (a Red Robin franchisee) helped propel the fund to its goal.
Businesses throughout the state stepped in to support hospitality workers who are suffering financially as the industry struggles to recover and re-open. Several regional breweries contributed a portion of their sales of All Together IPA to HARP, including Brewery ARS, Tröegs Independent Brewing, Two Robbers, and Stickman Brews, while Victory Brewing Company and Sly Fox Brewing Company donated a portion of their proceeds from t-shirt sales. In addition to over 106 individuals who contributed financially, Neff Associates created the logo and website, while Food Shelter PR developed press materials and provided in-kind local, regional, and national media outreach.
As the industry struggles to get back on its feet, the PRLA is opening up a second round of fundraising starting with a $45,000 base working towards an additional $80,000 in order to meet its goal of $125,000. Several initiatives to donate portions of proceeds for HARP have already or will take place, including the Audi Feastival Virtual Dinner Series in October, the 29th annual Central Chapter Golf Outing at the Hershey Country Club, and the Absolut Holiday promotion from November 1 to 29 where $1 per bottle up to $7,500 will be donated. Donations can be made online or by texting HARP to 44-321.
“The outpouring of support from companies across the Commonwealth has been incredible. From professional services who donated time and talent to breweries and even restaurant groups giving a portion of sales as they welcome guests back into dining rooms,” says John Longstreet, President & CEO of PRLA. “Unfortunately, we still have more work to do to raise a second round of funds to provide relief to those who have been most affected by COVID-19, through no fault of their own.”
“We at Neff were happy to contribute creative and branding services to assist with supporting out of work hospitality folks,” said David Neff, founder and president of Neff Associates, “The pandemic has wreaked havoc on so many hard-working people across the state. Our contribution is just a fraction of the continued support they need to have.”
The HARP fund is managed through the Pennsylvania Restaurant & Lodging Association Educational Foundation, which has been providing financial assistance to hospitality students for over 15 years, and 100% of donations to HARP will go directly to the fund recipients. Industry employees affected by abrupt closures due to COVID-19 can learn more about the fund here.
The PRLA has been an active resource for the hospitality industry during this challenging time, advocating for the individuals whose employment is at risk. The PRLA has been keeping business owners informed of the changing regulations and sharing opportunities for financial relief through local, state, and federal programs. •