Service Industry and Health Care Relief Efforts — and How You Can Help

These hospital workers can thank Corvus customers for all the coffee.
These hospital workers can thank Corvus customers for all the coffee. Courtesy of Corvus Coffee Roasters
Colorado restaurants and other food-service businesses are banding together to make sure industry workers are not left behind during the coronavirus crisis. With so many employees out of work because of the order to close all bars and restaurants to in-house customers, those laid off need help to make it through a difficult time.

Here are organizations and businesses stepping up to help out in whatever ways they can:

Angel Relief Fund
The Colorado Restaurant Association started its Angel Relief Fund to assist hospitality and service-industry workers who are diagnosed with COVID-19, who have been quarantined under doctor’s care, or who have been unable to receive government assistance and have been out of work for more than a month. Qualified applicants can fill out an online form here. For more information about the fund and for resources for both restaurant owners and employees hit hard by the coronavirus crisis, visit the CRA website.

The Cherry Cricket
Both locations of the Cherry Cricket (at 2641 East Second Avenue and 2220 Blake Street) are offering an "Extra Helpings" special that allows customers to send a free meal to someone of their choice for every takeout or delivery meal they place. Choose a grandparent, neighbor, hospital worker, teacher, friend or anyone who could use a meal delivered right now. The Cricket will be delivering once a week, and will choose foods that are easy to share and reheat. Place your order online on the Cherry Cricket's website, then fill out a form at the end of your order to select a second meal and where you want it sent. Both locations are currently open from noon to 8 p.m. daily for takeout and delivery.

Colorado Family Meal
The Colorado Bartenders Guild just launched Colorado Family Meal, which will provide up to three meals twice weekly for the next eight weeks for those who sign up for the program. Meals are being distributed every Wednesday and Saturday at the Wynkoop Brewing Company (1634 18th Street), where the food is being prepared and packaged with minimal interaction between the organizers and those picking up meals. Sponsors can send anywhere from $10 (which will pay for three meals) to $250 through the guild's sponsorship page at, and service and hospitality industry members (you don't need to be a CoBG member) hungry for help can sign up for meals using a form on the Colorado Bartenders Guild Instagram account (@cobartenderguild).

Crush Pizza + Tap
Crush Pizza + Tap owner Jason McGovern implemented a pizza donation program that will give a free pizza to someone in need for every $25 gift card purchased by customers. You can call the restaurant at 720-619-3337 to order a gift card and pick it up at 1200 West 38th Avenue. His goal is to give away 100 pies; on Thursday, March 19, Crush delivered eight free pizzas and six pounds of mixed salad greens to residents of the Del Norte Veteran Apartments.

Denver Pizza Co.
Denver Pizza Co. is giving away thirty slices of pizza daily at each of its locations. Call ahead to let them know you’re coming in to participate in the “set a slice out” program, then stop by between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. The team does ask that individuals who “truly need the help” accept the complimentary pizza, and will be limited to one slice per person. The two walk-up pizzerias are located at 309 West 11th Avenue (720-475-1471 and 908 Jersey Street (720-475-8601).

Edible Beats Restaurant Group
The Edible Beats restaurant group, which includes Linger, El Five, Root Down, Vital Root and Ophelia's, is providing 250 free hot dinners to Denver Public Schools students and their families who are in need, to help provide stability and nourishment through tough times. The company started setting up meal pick-ups for food-insecure families for specific elementary schools on March 16 and will run the weekday program through at least April 3. Each Edible Beats restaurant is paired with a school (chosen by DPS based on need), and each school will receive fifty meals a day by 3 p.m.

All pick-ups will be in front of El Five at 2935 Umatilla Street; families can pull up to the curb and turn on their flashers, and food will be brought directly to the car. Any meals that aren't picked up will be dropped at Urban Peak (an organization fighting teen homelessness) the next morning. The restaurant and school pairings are: Root Down and Brown, Edison and Sandoval Elementary Schools; Linger and Trevista Elementary School; Ophelia's and Whittier Elementary School; Vital Root and Columbian Elementary School; and El Five and Bryant-Webster Elementary School. Edible Beats would love to hear from you if you know of other schools or organizations that could use similar support, in the form of meals or otherwise. Send information to  [email protected].

Feed the Frontlines
This Boulder County organization is supplying meals from Boulder restaurants to feed health-care workers at Boulder Community Health. Initial donations of more than $200,000 have kickstarted the campaign so that 300 meals could be delivered daily for thirty days. Feed the Frontlines hopes to double that amount through additional donations. So far, meals have come from Salt, the Big Red F Restaurant Group, the Kitchen Next Door, Japango, Blackbelly, Santo and Community Table Kitchen. The organization notes that Boulder Community Health, at 4747 Arapahoe, is also taking donations of sealed boxes of masks, gloves, hand sanitizer and other personal protective equipment, which you can drop off Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and weekends from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Feed the Frontlines has also spread into Denver, thanks to catering company Biscuits and Berries. Donations can be made at, and you can see where the food is going on Feed the Frontline Denver's Facebook page.

Feeding Colorado Heroes
Prim Communications, a public relations firm that represents many Front Range restaurants, has started Feeding Colorado Heroes, which will deliver meals to health-care workers battling the spread of coronavirus. Feeding Colorado Heroes is taking donations that will be used to pay restaurants to prep meals for delivery to medical teams at ER and ICU locations, so hard-hit restaurants will benefit from the business while helping send food to hardworking medical professionals. A $100 donation will pay for enough food to serve twelve people, according to the organization; funds can be donated on the Feeding Colorado Heroes GoFundMe page. Restaurants wishing to sign up and hospital administrators interested in receiving meals can sign up at [email protected]. An online sign-up form is in the works, so keep an eye on the organization's Facebook page for updates.

Friends & Family Meal
Friends & Family is a nonprofit organization providing educational opportunities and health and wellness initiatives for food and beverage employees. The organization is setting up a Friends & Family Meal program
at Zeppelin Station (3501 Wazee Street) to provide 150 free pick-up meals twice a week from the food hall's vendors and other restaurants to newly unemployed bar and restaurant workers. Meal service is currently scheduled for noon to 2 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays starting Mary 24 until May 7. Friends & Family is looking for sponsors to help fund the operation: Contact Kevin Galaba at [email protected] or Zeppelin Station at [email protected] for details on how to donate. Those wishing to pick up food can text their order to 716-262-9834 (note: This is an update from a previous number) before 5 p.m. the day before the scheduled pick-up day, with first and last name, former employer, phone number and current email address. The first 150 people will receive a text confirmation. Then pull up to the front entrance of Zeppelin Station, give your order confirmation number and your food will be brought to you curbside. Visit the Friends & Family Facebook page for details.

Fork Off Corona
Austin-based marketing firm Topograph created #ForkOffCorona as a way to provide relief, through the sale of T-shirts, for service-industry employees out of work because of the coronavirus crisis. Beginning Wednesday, March 25, Topograph will host a series of Facebook live interviews with chefs all over the country. In Colorado, Kevin Grossi of the Regional in Fort Collins, Paul C. Reilly of Beast & Bottle and Coperta in Denver, and Laura Greeney of Upslope Brewing Company in Boulder will unveil the Colorado #forkoffcorona shirts and the organizations that money from purchases will go toward. Visit the ForkOffCorona Facebook event page for more details. T-shirt sales begin on April 25 and will continue for several weeks, and live interviews will continue on Facebook through April 12.

click to enlarge The #FuelDenver delivery truck is bringing hot food to hospital workers. - COURTESY OF #FUELDENVER
The #FuelDenver delivery truck is bringing hot food to hospital workers.
Courtesy of #FuelDenver
Fuel Denver Frontlines
Gastamo Concepts, which runs Birdcall, Park Burger, Park & Co. and Homegrown Tap & Dough, has launched a dedicated #FuelDenver food truck to provide food to health-care workers fighting COVID-19. Thanks to a generous donation from the Tuchman Family Foundation to Denver Health, Gastamo Group restaurant workers have converted the restaurants into commissary kitchens to provide 10,000 meals a week to Denver Health, Saint Joseph Hospital and UC Health Aurora (with plans to add more destinations). "We are focused on every nurse, EMT, EVS, security team member, custodian and doctor who is performing the selfless act of protecting Denver during this scary time," says Birdcall CEO Peter Newlin. Visit the Fuel Denver Frontlines website for more details.

Jubilee Roasting Co.
Jubilee Coffee is partnering with several local food businesses to provide meals and coffee for health-care workers battling the spread of coronavirus. The coffee company (with locations at 1452 Kenton Street in Aurora and 1075 Park Avenue West in Denver) has set up an online store at, where you can select coffee from Jubilee or food and beverage from Annette Scratch to Table, Third Culture Bakery, Stowaway and snack-bar company Patter Bar. If you just want to donate without specifying food, you can select the "Whatever is needed" option, and Jubilee will use the money to evenly distribute a variety to locations in need. Right now, Jubilee is working with volunteers at the Anschutz Medical Campus to determine the best locations to deliver food to the least-served workers at the three hospitals located there. The first delivery is scheduled for Friday, March 27.

Keep Calm and Carry Out
Sage Restaurant Concepts has launched Keep Calm and Carry Out, which donates $1 for every carryout order to Feeding America, an organization helping local food banks respond to coronavirus. The program was initially implemented for Sage restaurants Urban Farmer, Kachina and the Corner Office (which have consolidated takeout and delivery services and are now serving all three menus from Kachina at 1890 Wazee Street from noon to 8 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday), but the company is enlisting other restaurants outside the group to help raise more money. So far, more than 100 restaurants have signed on; see the complete list on the Keep Calm and Carry Out website, where restaurants can also find information about signing up.

Leopold Bros.
One of Denver's oldest and best distilleries recently produced and donated more than 35 gallons of hand sanitizer to Denver Parks and Recreation, where it is being used by park patrol staff, at meal sites and at the new temporary homeless shelter at the National Western Complex. Leopold Bros. will continue to make more hand sanitizer as long as supplies are needed for health-care facilities, first responders and nonprofit centers, as well as retail and restaurant workers.

Lunches for Clinicians
This GoFundMe campaign is raising money to provide restaurant meals for health-care workers in ICUs and other high-risk locations. With a goal of $20,000, the group has already raised nearly three-quarters of that in just a few days, and has delivered breakfast from OneFold and dinner from the Garlic Knot to the Medical Center of Aurora. Organizer Scott Sales says the funds raised allow Lunches for Clinicians "to work with local restaurants to provide nourishment in the form of breakfast, lunch, dinner or coffee to those working tirelessly to save lives in the ICU." See the group's GoFundMe page for details, and the Lunches for Clinicians Facebook page for results of where the money is going.

Operation Family Meal
Avanti Food & Beverage and CHOW (Culinary Hospitality Outreach and Wellness) are partnering for Operation Family Meal, a nonprofit organization formed to help hospitality-industry hourly employees and their families by offering free prepared meals and mental health services. Meal pick-up is being offered from noon to 2 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday (social distancing will be enforced). The organization asks that you just bring a form of identification and proof of past restaurant/bar/hospitality employment. Meals will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis until they run out. Current locations are at Avanti F&B, 3200 Pecos Street; Quiero Arepas, 1859 South Pearl Street; Olivia, 290 South Downing Street; Il Posto, 2601 Larimer Street; American Elm, 4132 West 38th Avenue; and Sloan's Tap & Burger (Sloan’s Lake), 1565 Raleigh Street. Visit the Operation Family Meal and CHOW websites for more details, and the group's Facebook event page for information on the meal pick-ups.

Postino WineCafe
Postino WineCafe, with locations at 2715 17th Street and 145 Broadway, is donating one meal to No Kid Hungry for every bruschetta board sold for takeout or delivery. The restaurant group is also saving tips from all curbside business to pass along to Postino team members currently not working.

Safta, the Israeli restaurant run by Alon and Emily Shaya at 3330 Brighton Boulevard inside the Source Hotel, has become a relief center in partnership with chef Edward Lee and the LEE Initiative. The new program will benefit restaurant workers who have been laid off or had a significant reduction in hours and/or pay. With the help of sponsor Maker’s Mark, Safta is offering food and supplies to industry folks in need, packing 250 to 300 to-go dinners each night on a first-come, first-served basis (with a limit of one meal per person). Safta will also have household and personal-hygiene supplies on hand as they are available. The relief program will run alongside Safta’s existing pick-up and delivery offerings, including a range of family meal options, for paying consumers. Those orders can be placed at 720-408-2444, at [email protected] or on the restaurant's website. The initiative will continue for two weeks or until it can no longer be financially supported. Food pick-up will be set up as a drive-thru in the parking lot of the Source Hotel from 3 to 5 p.m. daily. Visit the @eatwithsafta, @alonshaya, @pomhospitality and @thesourcedenver Instagram pages for updates.

Snooze started out as a single Larimer Street breakfast spot and has grown to more than forty locations in multiple states. The company's Compass Foundation was originally created for and funded and operated by Snooze employees, but has now become a critical resource during the coronavirus shutdown. On April 2, the company seeded the fund with an additional $50,000 to provide financial help to currently employed and inactive employees experiencing extended hardships. Grants are being provided to Snooze team members "working to become their best selves," according to the company, so applications are being taken to fund online courses, professional development, learning new languages and building community gardens, for example. Additional donations are being taken at the Snooze Compass Foundation website.

ViewHouse has started up its 200 Meals a Day effort to donate food from its four locations in Denver, Centennial, Littleton and Colorado Springs from now until April 30. Recipients that have benefited from the program so far are the Del Norte Neighborhood Development Corporation, Family Tree, Volunteers of America Colorado and SOX Place. Organizations that wish to be considered for meal delivery can submit a request at with the organization’s name, contact information, number of boxed lunches needed (up to fifty) and the desired pick-up date.

Wayne's Smoke Shack
Wayne's Smoke Shack, at 406 Center Drive in Superior, has launched a GoFundMe account to help serve food to workers at more than ten metro-area hospitals. Last week, the barbecue restaurant served hot meals to more than 2,500 workers, with a goal of $75,000 to continue the mission as well as to help rehire laid-off employees and provide employment opportunities to those who are out of work because of the coronavirus crisis. While the restaurant itself is currently only open from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturdays because of the closure of its dining room, the team continues to cook for health-care workers. Visit Wayne's Facebook page for ongoing details.

click to enlarge No this isn't a weird new beer; it's hand sanitizer destined for frontline workers. - COURTESY OF WELDWERKS BREWING CO.
No this isn't a weird new beer; it's hand sanitizer destined for frontline workers.
Courtesy of WeldWerks Brewing Co.
WeldWerks Brewing Co.
The Greeley brewery has teamed up with several distilleries, including Tower 56 Distilling in Greeley, Pine Bluffs Distilling in Wyoming and the soon-to-open Molly Brown Distillery to produce hand sanitizer that is being distributed to first responders, hospitals and other organizations in need of PPE. Root Shoot Malting has donated corn to be fermented and distilled, and packaging, labeling and distribution are being handled by Amcor Packaging, Innovative Label Solutions and Pepsi Distributors. WeldWerks is funding a part of the project through its own community foundation, and additional donations are being accepted; contact [email protected].

We will keep adding to the list as new programs pop up. Send information to [email protected].
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Mark Antonation is the former Westword Food & Drink Editor. In 2018, he was named Outstanding Media Professional by the Colorado Restaurant Association; he's now with the Colorado Restaurant Foundation.
Contact: Mark Antonation