HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — This holiday season, a lot of restaurants are struggling to get by because of the temporary indoor dining restrictions.
But one Harrisburg woman is on a mission to help those restaurants and local healthcare workers.
It’s called Food for the Fight. In just under a week more than $14,000 has been raised, a much-needed boost for many local restaurants.
Cafe Fresco sits empty with another two weeks to go without indoor dining.
“To do this at this time has been like I said, a great challenge to have to lay off employees right before the holidays has been really tough,” said Brian Fertenbaugh, Cafe Fresco owner.
It’s been tough on all restaurants in the area, many which were started by restauranteur Nick Laus.
“Since his passing, I’ve been trying to find ways to continue his legacy and keep that same philanthropic philosophy,” said daughter Chanelle Laus.
Laus found a way last Saturday when a friend called.
“Can I buy a gift card and donate it to a healthcare worker? And I was like wow that’s a brilliant idea and I would love to take it and run with it,” Laus said.
Fertenbaugh says it’s not only a financial boost, but good for morale too.
“Literally the other day she reached out to me and said she was coming in to buy some gift cards and it was a day where I’m sitting looking at the cash register, looking at the numbers and saying to myself I’m not sure why we’re open right now,” Fertenbaugh said.
Laus is well on her way to a goal of $20,000 raised, which would buy four hundred $50 gift cards.
If you donate $50, you can designate which restaurant you want to see benefit.
“My hope is to keep going throughout the shutdown and then distribute the gift cards after the shutdown’s over,” Laus said.
The plan is to give them to staff at UPMC Pinnacle and Penn State Health and possibly employees at nursing homes and rehab facilities.
You can donate to the cause on the Food for the Fight Facebook page or through Venmo using @food4thefight.
You can also email firstname.lastname@example.org.