project leader
Kelly S
Quincy St
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the project

Service Workers Coalition is a grassroots Mutual Aid Fund, and now incorporated Non-Profit Organization, that has mobilized to respond the the evolving needs of laid off hospitality workers throughout the COVID-19 crisis. The central action of SWC is grocery stipends.The fund offers $50 a week grocery stipends to any out of work service industry workers, and $100 a week to those who are undocumented or cannot access Unemployment Insurance. We also offer delivery of those supplies if a worker is quarantined for any reason, or does not have access to a bank account, which is needed for wire transfer of the stipend.

In the last five months SWC has raised just over 150k and sent out grocery stipends to over 1,750 New Yorkers, some for nearly every week of the crisis. What has been incredibly moving is that this money was raised primarily in 5-20 dollar weekly donations, largely from people within the industry. As time went on and some service workers gained access to UI benefits we saw many who received the stipend turn around and paid it forward when they could.

This month in an effort to address the housing crisis many in our industry are faced with, we are releasing 40 rent relief grants of $250 to workers who are rent burdened or severely rent burdened, and will be prioritizing people living with housing precarity and those who do not receive UI. 

We have been able to sustain this fund with the help of our restaurant community with weekly raffles with donated prizes from restaurant workers and owners as well as several grants from community minded organizations. We are launching this campaign to encourage large donations to help us sustain this fund and our community through the duration of this pandemic. Ioby will be acting as our fiscal sponsor and will be able to provide tax deductions. We will continue accepting donations through our Venmo @bkservicecoaltion and follow us here under the updates tab as well as on our Instagram page @serviceworkerscoaltion. We thank you for your continued support! 

the steps

We have built this network to address food insecurity within the food industry. With the funds raised from this campaign we can guarantee stipends into the winter months, and while we arrange deliveries through volunteers and pay out stipends through Zelle and Venmo we will be working on more dynamic ways to support our community for the duration, be that through rent relief, facilitating mental health check-ins, access to harm reductions supplies, and/or assistance with navigating housing rights and unemployment insurance.

why we're doing it

The shutdown of restaurants has underscored the precarity of the lives of food service workers, but also the solidarity that exists between us. We were cognizant of the deep alienation, both from our labor and in our communities, before the COVID-19 crisis. Anyone who has worked in a kitchen or on the floor naturally resists this alienation. We know we only function together. We're not immune to isolation, we cannot depend on unions, and if we struggle alone, we fall through the net. We are building, now, a future which acknowledges that we can not go it alone. We believe that our needs are a matrix. We need the groceries and food, and we need to feel both supported and helpful. Raising funds with our community to feed our community empowers and enriches us all.


All of the work of the Coalition is done by volunteers, so all the money we raise goes either back into the organization or directly to those supported by our network. We offer workers up to $50 for groceries weekly, so we expect this amount to help pay over 475 stipends. We hope that this will carry our Fund for two months, as we continue to adjust and respond accordingly to the needs of our community. 

ioby Platform Fee waived
ioby Fiscal Sponsorship Fee (5%) waived
ioby Donation Processing Fee (3%)
(Donation processing fee does not apply to match funding.)
TOTAL TO RAISE = $25,773
Please note: ioby fees are estimated and will be calculated based on totals at the end of the campaign.  


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This is where photos will go once we build flickr integration


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