A good friend from college politely mentioned that she thought I was spinning my wheels over something pretty small potatoes. She suggested I film some online cooking videos or join a task force to lobby state and locals governments to offer grants and stimulus packages to restaurant workers. She also noted that the gift cards would go to the restaurant owners, rather than the workers who find themselves suddenly without jobs. And how much money could I raise? A pittance or two?
I disagreed, politely. If the businesses go under, that’s bad for everyone. Plus, so many good people, like Billy and Kristin Allin of Bread & Butterfly and Proof Bakeshop are donating all proceeds from gift cards to their furloughed employees. Maybe the money raised is negligible in the big picture, but 100 cards will translate into $5,000 for restaurant economy. I’m catching up with old friends, making new ones, and learning a lot about Excel spreadsheets. But most of all, talking up good restaurants and the good people behind them is what I do best.
Maybe you would like to join me, and I would welcome connecting with you on Facebook. Or maybe you want to start a gift card exchange among your own friends. As I write this the governor of Illinois has just announced at stay-at-home order, effective immediately. So I'll be here with my cat, my old cheese and my spreadsheet. My efforts may not be much, but they're something.
Good luck to all of you.
John Kessler is the AJC’s former food and dining editor.
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