project leader
Elina M
6901 Lynn Way
(Allegheny and Surrounding Counties)
latest update rss
Thank you!

the project

This one is for the kids! Over 40% of the households helped by Pittsburgh Restaurant Workers Aid have children in their care, and we often struggle to fill requests for kid friendly meals and snacks. This fund will help us always have much requested items on hand, such as milk, eggs, pasta, sandwich supplies, and juice. These items will keep our kids healthy and happy as they go back to school, whether that be in the classroom or learning from home.

As our families are facing a return to school during a pandemic, many folks are still kept from work by ongoing restaurant restrictions, or only earning a fraction of their regular income due to decreased business. Many more parents and caretakers may not be able to return to work as school reopenings are uncertain or their childrens’ return to the classroom would be too great of a risk. PRWA aims to support healthy families during this difficult time, until the return to work and to school are safe for everyone!

the steps

Since the very beginning of Covid-19 related restaurant restrictions, Pittsburgh Restaurant Workers Aid has been collecting and distributing food resources to low income people in our community who have lost wages and tips. What started as a small group of caring industry workers dropping a few groceries or meals on porches has bloomed into a network that assists up to 200 households every week with food, baby care items, and pet supplies. Our volunteers deliver care packages directly to the doors of folks who can not access resources on their own, often due to lack of transportation, health concerns, or childcare responsibilities.

While many of our recipients’ needs are met by in-kind donations and partnerships with organizations such as 412 Food Rescue and the Western Pennsylvania Diaper Bank, we often have requests for kid friendly food that go unanswered. Approximately 40% of the households we aid have children in their care, and resources such as milk, eggs, proteins, and occasional treats are essential to their health and happiness. This fund would allow us to keep these in-demand items on hand, to include in the care packages going out to households with kids upon request. 

This is especially necessary as families face tough decisions and uncertainty around the return to school. As Covid-19 health concerns continue, many caretakers will make the necessary decision to stay home from work to care for their families. If and when classrooms do close, parents and guardians will not have this choice. The uncertainty of access to safe classroom environments, as well as the halted supplemental pandemic uninsurance benefits that families were relying on to survive, are putting immense stress on the families of restaurant workers, who feel as if they have run out of resources. We need to make sure that these workers and their children don’t face hunger.

why we're doing it

Pittsburgh Restaurant Workers Aid provides resources and community support to restaurant and hospitality workers who have lost financial, housing, food, and healthcare security. Built as a coalition of service workers in response to the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020, our goal is to create a mutual aid network that can address the needs of workers in our industry, by distributing food, baby necessities, pet care items, and cleaning and hygiene products to one of the largest workforces in Allegheny County. 


Our industry was one of the first to experience necessary restrictions and closures, and will be one of the last to safely reopen. Many of our workplaces will not survive this crisis, and workers are returning to the job to face both greatly increased risk and often lower earnings. In an industry with notoriously tight profit margins, sub-standard minimum wages, and a broad lack of employer provided benefits such as healthcare, paid leave, or retirement funds, our community has no safety net. PRWA is filling a gap where public benefits, such as Unemployment Compensation and food banks, have been inaccessible, inadequate, and untimely in serving the immediate and great needs of affected food and beverage workers. With continued support from our greater community, we will be able to help or colleagues stay healthy, housed, and fed through this crisis and beyond.


Disbursed budget (2.16.22):

Distribution Center Organizer - $8300.00 
Distribution Rent (1 month) - $1700.00 
Children Snacks and Items - $1833.84

TOTAL RAISED = $12,045.20
ioby Fiscal Sponsorship Fee (5%) N/A
ioby Donation Processing Fee (3%) $211.36


Original budget:

$10,839.50 Kid friendly grocery items - such as milk, pasta, sandwich supplies, and juice - that are often requested by families in need.

$1,160.50 Adminstrative fees


ioby Platform Fee waived
ioby Donation Processing Fee (3%)
(Donation processing fee does not apply to match funding.)
TOTAL TO RAISE = $12,183
Donation processing fees apply to donations only. 100% of match funding goes to projects. Please note, fees are estimated here and final numbers may change based on the final amount raised and amount of match funding applied to this campaign.  



Thank you!

A huge round of applause to all of our generous donors. We are so very close to our goal! We have had a busy Fall season, as we continued to get food and resources into the hands of approximately 100 households each week. Your donations are already helping the children in our network have all the meals they need as they study, both in schools and from home.

As we head into the winter holiday season, PRWA is teamaing up with the Pittsburgh chapter of the United States Bartenders Guild for a gift and winter coat drive. A rise in COVID-19 cases and the necessary advisories and restrictions needed to protect our communites are again taking a toll on those who work in the restaurant industry. We hope that you are able to continue supporting our cause, so that we can safely reopen after this crisis and welcome folks back to work and guests back into our dining rooms, bars, and venues. Our Holiday IOBY campaign will be live shortly.

Thanks again for your donations! We could not do this without you!


Elina Malkin

Pittsburgh Restaurant Workers Aid

We crossed the 50% mark today!

Thank you so much to our generous donors. With your help, we will be able to provide essential meals and snacks to the kids in our network, as they return to school during such a difficult year. This fund will make a huge impact for the families in our network, who are still struggling with job loss, fewer shifts, and reduced tipped income due to Covid-19 related restaurant closures and restrictions.

As we near our funsdraising goal, we need all the help we can get to spread the word about our efforts. Today, we are asking you to share this campaign with your friends, families, and colleagues. If each of our supporters can send an email, text, or social media message to just three folks, it will help us reach a wider audience who may not already know about our project. IOBY is generously matching up to $5000 in contributions, so even small donations make a big difference!

Thanks again for supporting Pittsburgh Restaurant Workers Aid!


This is where photos will go once we build flickr integration


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