Guy Fieri might be the Mayor of Flavortown, but the chef and Food Network personality is now earning widespread praise this weekend for helping to raise over $20 million with the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation for the new Restaurant Employee Relief Fund. The fund was created to help the millions of restaurant employees who have been out of work due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives host said he reached out to several major food brands to ask them to donate.
Fieri told TMZ Thursday he raised $21.5 million and has awarded over 40,000 grants worth $500 each, reports Variety. "I started thinking about my brothers and sisters in the restaurant business, and a bunch of restaurants that I was closing — we gotta do something," he said. "I started sending personal video invitations to all the heavy-hitter CEOs that are involved in the restaurant business... As long as the money comes in, we’re going to continue to give these grants."
While on TMZ, Fieri reminded his fans to order from small, local restaurants to support them during the coronavirus pandemic, as many are still open for take-out. "They need your takeout, they need your delivery so if they’re available, please go give them some biz," the Food Network star said. "It helps pay the electricity and the insurance."
thinking about how after Guy Fieri’s lesbian sister passed away he married 101 gay couples in Miami in her honor https://t.co/3sX2UdtSHF— the pug from Dune (@ldrinkh20) May 8, 2020
People can still donate to the Restaurant Employee Relief Fund by clicking here. More than 60,000 businesses have already applied for grants, and applications are closed at the moment. "During these challenging times, the NRAEF's mission to support the industry's workforce is more important than ever," Rob Gifford, NRAEF president, said in a statement to CNN. "With Guy as our champion and the support of so many generous companies, we can help get our family of restaurant workers back on their feet."
Guy Fieri is a king but you aren’t ready for that conversation pic.twitter.com/7lnPthiIF0— Allan Smith (@Allan22Smith) May 9, 2020
On Twitter, Fieri's act of kindness was widely praised on Twitter. It brought to mind many of the other times when he helped those in need. Many fans pointed to his decision to officiate 101 gay weddings in Miami in 2015 during an event to honor celebrity chef Art Smith. Fieri's late sister was a lesbian, and decided the best way to honor her memory was by officiating the ceremony.
The Mayor of Flavortown has basically done more to provide direct assistance to out-of-work restaurant industry workers than any elected politician https://t.co/b8SqTXCmmX— Kim Kelly (@GrimKim) May 8, 2020
Guy Fieri is a dork, but a helluva dork he is.
He raised over $20 million for out of work restaurant workers.
His sister who was gay, died of cancer in 2011.
Guy Fieri got ordained and officiated a wedding for 101 gay couples.
Well done! pic.twitter.com/mYUWJAm7nF— Sports Plus (@PrepSportsPlus) May 9, 2020
i apologize for ever saying anything bad about Guy Fieri, whose only crimes were adoring too-thick sauces and looking like a pinball machine. https://t.co/60IEmXIl4u— john (@johnsemley3000) May 9, 2020
This is so true. I definitely was in the group that would make fun of Guy without knowing all the good he does.— Vijay Venkataraman (@Hindu_Hammer) May 9, 2020
Guy Fieri saving the day for restaurant workers isn't a new thing. I worked at Cempazuchi in Milwaukee for 5 yrs. It was featured on Triple D's & the restaurant went from a day away from closing to having HUGE sales for 8 yrs. The guy is a savior for local biz.
HUGE PROPS! 😎👍 pic.twitter.com/hWMhS36JIi— Scott would take writing community to the moon 🐝 (@storysmithscb) May 9, 2020