The RI Hospitality Education Foundation (RIHEF) launched the RI Hospitality Employee Relief Fund on March 24. The purpose of the RI Hospitality Employee Relief Fund is to provide member food service, lodging, and tourism employees who have been laid off due to COVID-19 and are facing a financial hardship in supporting their families with food and shelter an opportunity to apply for financial assistance.
“COVID-19 has had a tremendous impact on the hospitality industry workforce. As public places of accommodation our industry was the first to be shut down by executive order resulting in thousands of unemployment claims. There are five generations working in our industry who will be struggling to pay rent, mortgage, household utilities, groceries, gasoline, and student loans. Basic human needs begin with food and shelter and COVID-19 has stripped these employees of their ability to financially provide these two basic needs for their families,” its website reads.
Donations and applications for funding can be made through the RI Hospitality Education Foundation website. For over twenty-five years the RI Hospitality Education Foundation has been a 501(c)(3) non profit corporation working on behalf of the 87,000 food service, lodging, and tourism workforce within Rhode Island.
The RI Hospitality Employee Relief Fund was created in honor of late longtime Board Member, Alfred “Al” A. Zannella. Zannella was the Executive Vice President of Mancini Beverage and a longtime Board Member of the RI Hospitality Association. In 2018, he was named Man of the Year at the annual Stars of the Industry Awards. “Al was a dedicated member of the hospitality community, always willing to lend a hand and help his industry thrive. This fund was created in his honor as a way to carry on the legacy of his generosity,” the site reads.