Hospitality workers in the Gorge who've lost their jobs in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak now have a new resource to help them get by.
Investors in Hood River-based Double Mountain Brewery have formed a nonprofit to assist employees affected by the temporary closure of dine-in services. On Friday, the group received a $7,500 grant from the United Way of the Columbia Gorge. That money will help the Double Mountain Foundation purchase gift cards for grocery stores and farmers markets that will then be donated to current and former staff from the brewery and taproom who have lost a steady paycheck.
"As I've been reaching out to many restaurant owners, I hear a very similar story of hard-working staff that have been laid off, but through the complexity of the overwhelmed unemployment system, still have received no assistance," Double Mountain owner Matt Swihart said in a press release. "It is heartbreaking. These families are struggling every day to make ends meet and put food on the table."
Swihart plans to expand the foundation's reach by helping more struggling Gorge workers in the service industry with rent and utility payments, health care and other needs through additional grants and fundraisers.
Donations can be made to the nonprofit's website.