Michelle Rojas, Hot Bread Kitchen’s Senior Manager of Member Success and Community. Michelle has a Masters in Social Work and it’s her job at Hot Bread Kitchen to make sure the women in our workforce program thrive in their personal and work lives.
“Hot Bread Kitchen’s mission is more important than ever. The women and small business owners we serve are always hit hardest by any kind of financial shock. Folks in the food industry are really reeling right now from a catastrophic loss of business and mass layoffs.
Last week, we opened up a hotline: a way for us to get our feet on the ground, hear what’s happening with our clients, and share critical information with our community about support and resources. We also established an emergency fund to provide immediate monetary support to our alumni and small business owners. Nearly 30% of our workforce program alumni have already lost their jobs.
The normal day-to-day reality of people working in the food industry, particularly our clients and small business owners, has changed overnight. We’re hearing from women that they are anxious and scared; that they don’t have access to reliable information; they are struggling to educate their children at home, and in many cases they haven’t been able to file for unemployment. It’s heartening to see the support pouring in for Hot Bread Kitchen’s relief effort.
Hot Bread Kitchen’s support is critical right now because we serve women and small business owners who are financially vulnerable. The framework we’re operating right now is crisis intervention: what are the basic needs you’re lacking and how can we get them to you as quickly as possible.
The Emergency Fund will help provide stipends for our workforce program alumni and grants to small business owners to use for rent/utilities, covering payroll, and essential household needs, and will help to ease the time between lost wages and access to benefits like unemployment.
Thank you for taking the time to support our work. We appreciate you deeply. Stay safe and stay healthy.”
Food Bank for New York City