ST. GEORGE — Greg Federman, the owner of Xetava Gardens Café in Kayenta, recently announced that they have partnered with Switchpoint Community Resource Center to provide a relief program for displaced restaurant workers in Washington County during the COVID-19 pandemic.
After conducting a day of service at Xetava Gardens on March 21 to support unemployed food service workers, Federman realized this effort was vitally important and must continue beyond a one-time event.
What began with Gov. Gary Herbert’s recommendation to shutter restaurants except to drive-through or delivery, Federman said this service they are providing will continue throughout the time of stress as needed.
“As soon as we realized we had to shut down the cafe, the first thought was, ‘What can we do with our space, help our own staff immediately?'” Federman said, adding that the seed of an idea grew to include other restaurant workers.
After setting up a GoFundMe page with the goal of raising $10,000 to turn the cafe into a place to pick up food and household supplies, the outreach from the community surpassed expectations.
At the end of March, after exceeding their goal to the tune of more than $20,000, Federman realized it wasn’t a good idea to have people visit the cafe to donate. Shortly after, he partnered with Switchpoint.
Switchpoint has been in existence since 2014 providing temporary shelter and support for the homeless community in Washington County.
They collaborates with over 20 nonprofit partners and local government agencies to offer services and resources onsite. Given their history in the area, Federman said it just made sense to join forces.
“Partnering with the Switchpoint food pantry was the logical answer to better serve the workers in need,” he said. “They are the experts here and provide a location with easy access.”
Federman is working directly with Switchpoint to purchase items for restaurant workers through the food pantry, and this week will be their third round of providing relief.
“My aim is to keep as positive as I can and work off the insanity,” Federman said. “You need to step outside yourself and think about others. … The amount of giving that first came in was mind-boggling. It was a cool feeling that a tiny little restaurant in the middle of nowhere can actually help the biggest food pantry in the county.”
Switchpoint is asking that restaurant workers in need of assistance preregister online so they can get an estimate of the numbers that may come in and be prepared.
According to a press release from Switchpoint, workers will need to bring proof of their former restaurant employment in the form or their name badge or paystub to the pantry, located at 948 N. 1300 West.
“We are happy to support the efforts Greg has implemented to bring relief to the hundreds of unemployed restaurant workers and will continue to do so for as long as they need the help,” Carol Hollowell, executive director of Switchpoint, said in the press release.
Beyond food and shelter, Switchpoint Community Resource Center is a stepping-stone to independence for those experiencing homelessness, helping to make poverty a temporary situation. For more information about Switchpoint, click here. The GoFundMe campaign is also still active as Federman hopes to continue offering support to those in need.
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