Georgia Magazine - May 2022 - 24
bilingual case managers as well as a
partnership with an interpretation
" Our staff can help anyone in
over 180 languages, " HidingerKendrick
GK has ensured that such help
comes quickly for applicants.
When Alex Howard, a bartender
2021 Impact Repo
Ryan Hidinger's legacy continues at Giving
Kitchen, and Team Hidi is the organization's
biggest fundraiser of the year. This year's
Team Hidi 10 is set for May 15 in Atlanta.
What is not so well known is that,
even if they are full-time employees,
food service workers often have little
to no medical insurance, paid leave
or emergency funds of their own to fall
back on. Most shocking is that many in the industry actually need
Homelessness, too, can be a harsh reality for employees who
1 9 1 9
are faced with illnesses, accidents, natural disasters or deaths in the family.
While these struggles are a reality even in normal times, the pandemic
sent the food service industry reeling. However, there was a silver lining.
GK's revenue always had come primarily from within its own
industry. With the community and GK facing devastation amid closures
and job losses throughout the industry, the struggles of these workers
were put in the spotlight.
The result was a humanitarian effort worthy of its own award.
" All of a sudden we had this money flowing in from the consumer base
and from the foundations, " Turner says. " We had 5,000 different individual
donations in the two months after the pandemic started who had never
donated before. "
Everyday folks, professionals, celebrities, athletes, businesses,
corporations and foundations immediately fundraised to support GK
and the food service community.
" The amount of money raised in 2020 was mind-boggling, and not
expand. GK now provides assistance throughout Georgia and Tennessee.
Its goal to go national is led by a very dedicated team, which includes Jen
Hidinger-Kendrick as its senior director of community engagement and
Ryan Turner on its board of directors.
Help is on the way
Just as Hidinger wanted, GK serves workers in a range of food service
environments: restaurants, catering, concessions, food trucks, cafeterias
and bars/taprooms. And language is not a barrier. The organization has
24 Georgia Magazine May 2022
one penny came from our industry, " Turner adds.
This support has allowed GK not only to continue to serve but also to
wanting to make sure people are OK-not just in
their wallets but down to their core, " Howard says.
GK's website also offers a multitude of ways, big
at Attaboy cocktail bar in Nashville,
Tenn., sustained a hand injury in
September that required surgery,
he found himself assigned
a case manager within
24 hours. Through GK's
program, Howard's living
expenses were directly paid
by GK within a week. This
continued for five months.
But there was more.
" It is such a great
food service workers served
industry to work in, but if
you are physically unable,
there aren't a whole lot of
places to [go], " Howard says.
Thus, he also struggled emotionally with the
uncertainty of his future. GK's referral program,
the Stability Network, was another part of his
healing. Through a case manager or by going online
(thegivingkitchen.org), members of the food service
industry can access a comprehensive database of
local, regional and national organizations that can
help with life issues, including substance abuse,
GK enters Tennessee
in the first phase of
domestic violence and immigration concerns.
" There was this authentic tone of caring and
3 Bilingual Case Mana
serving clients in Eng
Spanish, and Arabic w
*interpreters available in 180 language
and small, that others can help. These include donating
money or services; buying or selling products
that give a percentage to GK; setting up or giving to
an employer matching-gift fund; and volunteering at,
attending or setting up events to support GK.
Hidinger-Kendrick also notes that " the greatest
gift is telling our story. "
While Hidinger, who was known for being
8% & Wellness
humble, might insist that he was just a cook and
wasn't saving lives or anything like that, others may
disagree. Thanks to his legacy, Giving Kitchen is
saving lives every day through physical, emotional
and financial support. And it's a reminder that, like
Hidinger, everyone can do something to create good
in powerful ways.
Sarah Russell is a freelance writer who lives in
Thank You 2021 Annual Corporate Partners!
Hot Springs, Ark.
supporting mental health in
the food service industry
970 Jefferson St
Atlanta, GA, 303
givingkitchen.org/20Read more at
givingkitchen.org | @givingkitc
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Georgia Magazine - May 2022
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Georgia Magazine - May 2022
Georgia Magazine - May 2022 - Intro
Georgia Magazine - May 2022 - Cover1
Georgia Magazine - May 2022 - Cover2
Georgia Magazine - May 2022 - Contents
Georgia Magazine - May 2022 - 4
Georgia Magazine - May 2022 - 5
Georgia Magazine - May 2022 - 6
Georgia Magazine - May 2022 - 7
Georgia Magazine - May 2022 - 8
Georgia Magazine - May 2022 - 9
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Georgia Magazine - May 2022 - Cover3
Georgia Magazine - May 2022 - Cover4