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December 31, 2020
Date of Event:


'Adopt a Server' helping laid-off restaurantworkers

Facebook pages are helpinglaid-off workers in the restaurant industry through the generosity of completestrangers.In Pennsylvania, "Adopt a Server/Bartender AlleghenyCounty" was created by Erin Matuch after she saw a similar page in anotherstate, where a lot of people were looking for help."It's just reallyheartbreaking and I think a lot of people feel lost," she said.Matuch saidshe was a server for eight years while in college and knows how difficult theindustry can be.The program, which launched after restaurant mitigation effortswere announced by Pennsylvania officials in November, allows those who are inthe restaurant industry and laid off to write a post on the Facebook page andask for help with bills, food, Christmas presents, etc. Anyone who reads thepost can offer help."I had a woman who reached out to me and said, 'I wantto help, I have boxes of food ready to go for holiday meals,'" saidMatuch. "They are in tears and they're so touched. It's just so amazing howmany people are willing to help."Jenna Bickel was laid off from her job asa server of eight years in March.

"It's still been reallyhard to go from two incomes to one income," she said.Bickel, a mother ofthree, says she has a lot to be thankful for, including a healthy baby afterthree miscarriages, but losing her job and not being able to interact with hercustomers is difficult."(This year) is not what I pictured, and it hasbeen really hard, and it has been a fearful time," she said.Bickel saidshe posted words of encouragement on a similar Facebook page called "Adopta Server Pennsylvania," and had people reach out to her wanting to help.In the end, they filled an Amazon wish list that put presents under herChristmas tree for her kids."I couldn't believe it. I called my husbandcrying," she said. "My post was just to say, 'hey, we'll allstruggling, but don't lose hope and we're going to make it,' and these peoplecame out just out of the goodness of their heart and bought the stuff. It wasreally amazing to see."Sometimes I think you forget that there are goodpeople out there because you see, sometimes you just see the negative, so it'sjust very touching," said Matuch."We want to all be working,"said Bickel. "Nobody wants to be in this situation right now. We're tryingour best."

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