Cookin’ Up Relief

by | Dec 8, 2020 | Impact, Stability | 0 comments

If you’ve been to an Applebee’s or Miller’s Ale House in Chattanooga, chances are you’ve had Chance’s handiwork.

Friendly and hardworking, Chance has been cooking up tasty food for more than a decade in Chattanooga. But he, like many others in the restaurant industry, was furloughed due to COVID-19.

The little money he had saved quickly dried up. And next month’s rent was due.

“I didn’t know what to do,” Chance said. “A friend told me to call The Bethlehem Center, and that they would help me out with my rent if I needed help [because of the pandemic].”

So he called. And Grace picked up the phone, ready to help.

Grace, who was the social-emotional learning interventionist at The Beth before COVID-19, is a case manager now. She helps connect families to the Restore Hope Fund or other resources they need to weather COVID-19.

“The families we’re seeing, they’re people who usually don’t need our help,” Grace said. “It’s single moms and older adults struggling in this uncertain time. We know the urgency, so we get to work helping them as fast as we can.”

To get people the resources they need quickly, The Beth and United Way of Greater Chattanooga developed a simple certifying process. 

“People qualify if they lost their job or work hours due to COVID-19,” Grace said. “We work with them to fill out an application and then submit it to United Way for the Restore Hope Fund. We don’t waste time in this process, and approval is quick.”

Formal direct assistance was not on The Beth’s menu until the pandemic. Now through the Restore Hope Fund, they help working people affected by the virus make it through. As of May, they have assisted more than 30 families—with 15 more in the pipeline. 

“To hear the relief in their voice when you call back and say, ‘Hey, you qualified,’ is worth it,” Grace said. “I love [hearing the joy] when they know they won’t have to be evicted or go without [utilities].”

For people financially affected by the virus, the Restore Hope Fund is a needed lifeline. Chance and his family were able to meet rent until he’s back in the kitchen.

“If you need help, I would tell others to reach out,” Chance said. “It’s easy. And they help you out as fast as they can.”You can help people affected by the virus get the relief they needed fast—no red tape, no waiting. Make a donation that directly impacts your neighbors, like Chance, in immediate need give now using this link or text “RestoreHope” to 40403.

This blog post was written for United Way of Greater Chattanooga by Matt Pulford.