It’s no secret that a lot of people have been hit hard because of the ongoing pandemic. Those workers deemed “non-essential” have suddenly had to face unforeseeable challenges, such as how they’re going to get their next meal when they’re no longer working.
A group of local business leaders recognized this issue and decided to band together and do something about it. Hospitality Industry Partnerships (HIP) was born, created by Mark Estee, Cheree Boteler, Katrina Loftin, Randi Reed, and Blake Smith.
Combining their experiences and connections within the hospitality industry, the group is now able to feed out-of-work restaurant, bar, casino, hotel, and food and beverage employees throughout the area.
Thanks to the assistance of large sponsors, they are able to make 300 meals three days a week to pass out to those struggling during this time. Food is passed out every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 4 to 7p p.m. at Liberty Food & Wine Exchange (through Fulton Alley off First Street).
In order to get a meal, people need to present something reflecting they were in the hospitality industry, such as a pay stub, uniform or nametag.
Each distributed meal includes 2-3 servings, so the food can last until the next pick-up date. There are vegan/vegetarian options in place and all meals are gluten free and peanut free (although the volunteers recommend double-checking as the menu changes every day based on donations).
“We’re serving the community that’s been serving us,” said local communications professional and HIP co-founder Cheree Boteler.
HIP plans to continue to expand their pick-up locations to other areas of Northern Nevada and increase the number of meals they can give out per day.
If you were in the hospitality industry and lost your job, head down to Liberty Food & Wine Exchange to pick up a hot, free meal. If you are interested in being a volunteer, email [email protected]. For more information and updates, visit www.nevadahip.com
Kylie Masznicz is a recent graduate of the University of Nevada, Reno, where she studied English with a concentration in writing with a minor in Communication Studies. She writes culture pieces for ThisIsReno, but her work has also been featured on Broadway Baby and Brushfire Literature & Arts Journal. Her goal is to write a novel. She enjoys art of all forms, but chooses to express her own creativity through writing, music, and nail art. She also collects Christmas sweaters and has enough to wear one everyday from Thanksgiving to New Years.