Atlanta-based Jen Hidinger-Kendrick turned a tragedy—the 2012 loss of her chef husband to cancer—into a mission. Through founding Giving Kitchen, Hidinger-Kendrick and her team have helped more than 4,000 food service workers, who qualify with proper documentation in Georgia, through crises to the tune of $3.3 million in financial assistance.
What is Giving Kitchen’s mission? We offer stability to food service workers. We help those who are experiencing crisis, like the death of an immediate family; a natural disaster, like a house flood or fire; an injury; or an illness, including COVID-19. We do that through our financial assistance program. We also offer connections to community resources, like mental health professionals, dentists or physicians, through our Stability Network program.
What’s happening on the front lines? We all are devastated and heartbroken. When the clients who we’re meant to help are suffering, we feel the impact. We’ve been able to really hone in on what Giving Kitchen can and cannot do. Regardless if it’s COVID-19 related or otherwise, we maintain our commitment to serving the food service community. Since this hit, we’ve been able to award over $85,000 in financial assistance to over 60 or so individual food service workers across the state.
What’s the best way to help? Sharing the mission of Giving Kitchen is massively important now because of those food service workers who are affected today by COVID-19 or another crisis. We need to be there for them in the weeks, months and years to come. Something [financial] that would normally help a food service worker for a few months at a time— we anticipate that changing pretty drastically due to the crisis that’s at hand. ... You can make a one-time donation at givingkitchen.org, or we have a recurring giving program called Pass the Hat, where people can donate to support our programs throughout the year as well.