WASHINGTON — A new program in the DMV is giving people laid off due to coronavirus a chance to earn some money and help feed hungry families at the same time.
The non-profit organization “Get Shift Done” connects displaced hospitality workers with food banks and other food distribution groups, which are overwhelmed right now trying to meet the need.
The program, which started in Texas but was recently brought to the DMV by the Washington Nationals charity arm Nationals Philanthropies, pays workers $15 an hour to work shifts at area food distribution centers.
"The organizations on the frontlines fighting food security challenges are heightened by the pandemic," Nationals Philanthropies CEO Tal Alter said.
"So the idea of that partnership is that it not only is providing existential support and budget relief to organizations on the front lines," he continued. "But also getting people who are directly affected in terms of their ability to do work opportunities to help and have some income."
In March, a local union -- UNITE Here Local 23 -- held a virtual meeting and called on the league and the Nationals to commit to paying its over 1,200 subcontracted food workers for the first 40 home games they are likely to miss.
Alter said displaced workers who want to participate can register for the program by downloading an app on the Get Shift Done website. Food distribution centers in need of extra workers can apply for the extra hands the same way.
“Part of our job in bringing Shiftsmart and Get Shift Done to this area is ensuring that the nonprofits who are on the front lines are able to partner with the platform,” Alter said.
Alter said the program benefits not only those looking for work but also local organizations that could really use the support.
“So that as many opportunities to work are made available to those who are looking for work," he said. "So not only is this a partnership without work hospitality workers, but it is also a way to support area organizations.”