When the pandemic hit, many folks were moved to dig into their pockets to help local businesses devastated by the ensuing loss of income. Bars and restaurant dining rooms were shuttered for months, and the relief fundraisers have been part of locals’ efforts to help save the industry that gives us so much. Here are some examples of local fundraising efforts:
In March, local attorney C.J. Krawczyk started the S.O.S. Milwaukee (Save Our Spots) GoFundMe, inspired by his 46th birthday and the MKE restaurants he loves, including Goodkind, Three Brothers, Ca’Lucchenzo and The Tandem. Within days, the fund had raised $25,000.
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Other GoFundMe campaigns were started to support the employees of spots such as Company Brewing (a fundraiser which has since been paused) and Strange Town (which still has an active one).
Some restaurants responded to COVID by creating their own staff fund. At Bay View’s Odd Duck, it’s the virtual tip jar, to which donations can be made from $5 up to $200. Of course, buying a gift card to be used in the future is another way to support a local restaurant you love. Many restaurants offer gift cards right on their websites.
Catastrophic events outside of COVID have inspired restaurant fundraisers as well. Recent fires at both Thiensville’s The Cheel and Hooligan’s on the East Side prompted an outpouring of public support. One fundraiser for The Cheel raised over $24,000. A GoFundMe set up for Hooligan’s is still collecting donations.