FestEvents Foundation, founders and producers of Staff Meal, received a welcoming $40,000 grant from Restaurant Workers’ Community Foundation to continue its support of the restaurant industry. Since April 11, the Staff Meal program has been providing free meal kits every Saturday to struggling hospitality workers who lost their jobs due to coronavirus restrictions.


This Saturday will mark the last weekend of free meal distribution at Irving Convention Center as the foundation restructures the program. Staff Meal will have served a total of 25,000 meals during its 10-week run. The foundation projects the total value of the project, including donated food, packaging, commercial kitchen use, and labor, to be $250,000.


With the $40,000 grant, FestEvents Foundation Co-Founders Alison Matis and Cheryl Weis and Marketing Director Emily Mantooth will restructure the program. Mindful that more restaurants are opening at a larger capacity, the new program, now called Staff Meal Special, will continue to feed restaurant workers in need, plus support restaurant owners.


“You can only imagine our surprise when we received an e-mail from RWCF who said that they were interested in providing a grant for our efforts,” says Matis. “We were in need of a miracle and received one.”  


Staff Meal Special will fund a different local restaurant each week to provide complimentary four-meal packs to restaurant workers in need. The meal kits will be available for pickup once a week on a designated day. Staff Meal Special officially launches July 1st. For further details, visit  


“It is bittersweet to conclude this version of Staff Meal,” says Weis, “but my heart is full knowing that so many people are returning to work and getting back on their feet. We hope that the new program will reach the needs of more industry members and help create stability as restaurants open to the new normal.”


Staff Meal would like to thank the numerous businesses and organizations that provided funding and food and product donations to enable its success: 3015 at Trinity Groves, Ace Mart, Artscape Creative, Bisous Bisous Pâtisserie, Blaze Brazilian Steakhouse, Cava Group Inc., Chef’s Produce Company, The Chefs’ Warehouse, Coyote Outdoor Living, Dairy Max, Eden Green Technologies, FreshPoint, Friedman Marketing and Public Relations, Gordon Food Service, Greater Dallas Restaurant Association, Heritage Barbecue, iHeartMedia, Irving Convention Center, La Madeleine, M&M Concessions, Maple Leaf Farms, New York Bagel & Bakery, Omni Hotels & Resorts, Paige McKinney: Martin Preferred Foods, Profound Foods, Sysco, Taco y Vino, Tailwater Capital, Texas Beef Council, THE! Staffing Company, Verlasso Salmon, Vipin Nambiar, and Wackym’s Kitchen.





About FestEvents Foundation

FestEvents Foundation, created by Alison Matis and Cheryl Weis, is a registered 501c3 that supports workforce development in the restaurant and hospitality industry. Through scholarship initiatives and strategic partnerships with like-minded organizations in the food and beverage industry, their mission is to provide access to training and professional development for those looking to make a career in the restaurant industry.


About Restaurant Workers’ Community Foundation

Restaurant Workers’ Community Foundation is an advocacy and action nonprofit created by and for restaurant workers. We are a community dedicated to making the restaurant industry more hospitable to everyone. Our public education seeks to change a policy and workplace culture. One third of the funds we raise goes to our efforts to speak out for our community. We support other nonprofits that provide career training, conduct research on restaurant industry practices, and advocate for fair wage policies and worker rights. One third of our budget is dedicated to grantmaking. In our impact investing area, we aim to use dollars to affect the industry in two ways – supporting restaurant businesses that operate ethically and, eventually, using investment strategies to engage in shareholder advocacy. One third of our funds go to impact investing.




In Photo: Emily Mantooth, Cheryl Weis, and Alison Matis of FestEvents Foundation

Photo Credit: One Shot Film