How this nonprofit is helping hundreds of NYC restaurants adjust during the pandemic
Courtesy of Chef El-Amin
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When non-essential businesses in NYC were ordered to close in March, restaurants across the five boroughs were tasked to pivot fast or risk shuttering their doors for good.

The impact on the city's once vibrant restaurant scene was immediate and devastating. A national survey found that 250,000 people were laid off within 22 days and almost $2 billion in revenue was lost. And soon, numerous restaurant closures became permanent as the pandemic raged on and businesses were unable to keep up with rent and utility payments.

Hot Bread Kitchen, a New York City-based nonprofit and incubator that has assisted more than 275 local businesses in the food industry, knew they needed to support their affiliated businesses in a new light to navigate the financial complexities of shifting business models and applying for loans.

According to Hot Bread Kitchen's CEO Shaolee Sen, shortly after the shutdown began, a third of restaurant workers that they support had been laid off and another third were furloughed.


While Hot Bread Kitchen seeks to help minority-owned restaurants thrive and sustain a diverse workforce, Sen has seen the small business owners that Hot Bread Kitchen represents hit unequally hard compared to white small business owners during the pandemic.

"The majority of people who have been furloughed or laid off from their jobs are people of color," Sen said. "Our crisis response included direct cash assistance and wraparound support for food industry employees and entrepreneurs who have been disproportionately impacted by the economic effects of this crisis."

This support included emergency relief and the launch of a hotline to help Hot Bread Kitchen's alumni navigate hardship brought on by the pandemic, such as navigating unemployment, benefits, childcare, food resources and anxiety. After seeing overwhelming demand, Hot Bread Kitchen opened up the hotline to all food workers.

Courtesy of Hot Bread Kitchen

Hot Bread Kitchen was able to assist the small businesses it supports through the help of numerous partners and donors, including Capital One, who has provided grants to the nonprofit since 2012 and also helped Hot Bread Kitchen secure a loan to maintain employing its staff through the Small Business Administration Paycheck Protection Program as a small business banking customer.

"Capital One is proud to partner with Hot Bread Kitchen and share in its commitment to empowering women and businesses as they navigate the complex financial challenges brought on by the pandemic," says Theresa Bedeau, a vice president of Community Impact & Investment at Capital One who also serves on Hot Bread Kitchen's advisory board.

One of the hundreds of businesses that Hot Bread Kitchen helped was Chef El-Amin, a New Rochelle, New York-based healthy soul foods restaurant turned catering business that originally opened in 1985.

This wasn't the first time that founder and chef Yusef El-Amin had pivoted his business to address the needs of his community. In 2000, he became concerned by his local community's struggle with diabetes and obesity, so he transformed his menu of classic soul food items into healthier gluten-free or vegan options without compromising taste.

With dining-in no longer a safe option, El-Amin sought the help of Hot Bread Kitchen to pivot his restaurant's business model once again.

"Most people are staying in and feeding their families where they live, so why not bring our recipes right into their homes?" says Rakhya El-Amin, Chef Yusef's daughter and current CEO and Managing Director of Chef El-Amin.

Courtesy of Chef El-Amin

The restaurant quickly pivoted and is now bringing its fish fry seasoning into home kitchens from Florida to California.

"We're perfecting our seasonings and our sauces so we can ship them to anyone in the United States," Yusef said.

Hot Bread Kitchen has been an instrumental resource to Chef El-Amin during this transition.

According to Rakhya, they've helped Chef El-Amin zero in on creating the right product for its target market and expanding its offering of Halal, a traditionally underserved market in the US.

Hot Bread Kitchen has also helped them streamline the consumer packaged goods processing for Chef El-Amin products by arranging for state and local inspections, as well helping scale the business from a local favorite to a national powerhouse.

While Rakhya is proud to partner with Hot Bread Kitchen and encourage innovation among Black and Brown business leaders in her community, her focus is clear.

"I don't want people to buy from us just because we're an African American-owned business, I want people to buy from us and support our cause because it's the best product line out there," Rakhya said. "The whole team at Hot Bread Kitchen has been so supportive and we're really thankful to be aligned with such a wonderful organization."

Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash
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Glenda moved to Houston from Ohio just before the pandemic hit. She didn't know that COVID-19-related delays would make it difficult to get her Texas driver's license and apply for unemployment benefits. She quickly found herself in an impossible situation — stranded in a strange place without money for food, gas, or a job to provide what she needed.

Alone, hungry, and scared, Glenda dialed 2-1-1 for help. The person on the other end of the line directed her to the Houston-based nonprofit Bread of Life, founded by St. John's United Methodist pastors Rudy and Juanita Rasmus.

For nearly 30 years, Bread of Life has been at the forefront of HIV/AIDS prevention, eliminating food insecurity, providing permanent housing to formerly homeless individuals and disaster relief.

Glenda sat in her car for 20 minutes outside of the building, trying to muster up the courage to get out and ask for help. She'd never been in this situation before, and she was terrified.

When she finally got out, she encountered Eva Thibaudeau, who happened to be walking down the street at the exact same time. Thibaudeau is the CEO of Temenos CDC, a nonprofit multi-unit housing development also founded by the Rasmuses, with a mission to serve Midtown Houston's homeless population.

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Yesterday I was perusing comments on an Welcometoterranova article about Joe Biden comforting the son of a Parkland shooting victim and immediately had flashbacks to the lead-up of the 2016 election. In describing former vice President Biden, some commenters were using the words "criminal," "corrupt," and "pedophile—exactly the same words people used to describe Hillary Clinton in 2016.

I remember being baffled so many people were so convinced of Clinton's evil schemes that they genuinely saw the documented serial liar and cheat that she was running against as the lesser of two evils. I mean, sure, if you believe that a career politician had spent years being paid off by powerful people and was trafficking children to suck their blood in her free time, just about anything looks like a better alternative.

But none of that was true.

It's been four years and Hillary Clinton has been found guilty of exactly none of the criminal activity she was being accused of. Trump spent every campaign rally leading chants of "Lock her up!" under the guise that she was going to go to jail after the election. He's been president for nearly four years now, and where is Clinton? Not in jail—she's comfy at home, occasionally trolling Trump on Twitter and doing podcasts.

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Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash
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Glenda moved to Houston from Ohio just before the pandemic hit. She didn't know that COVID-19-related delays would make it difficult to get her Texas driver's license and apply for unemployment benefits. She quickly found herself in an impossible situation — stranded in a strange place without money for food, gas, or a job to provide what she needed.

Alone, hungry, and scared, Glenda dialed 2-1-1 for help. The person on the other end of the line directed her to the Houston-based nonprofit Bread of Life, founded by St. John's United Methodist pastors Rudy and Juanita Rasmus.

For nearly 30 years, Bread of Life has been at the forefront of HIV/AIDS prevention, eliminating food insecurity, providing permanent housing to formerly homeless individuals and disaster relief.

Glenda sat in her car for 20 minutes outside of the building, trying to muster up the courage to get out and ask for help. She'd never been in this situation before, and she was terrified.

When she finally got out, she encountered Eva Thibaudeau, who happened to be walking down the street at the exact same time. Thibaudeau is the CEO of Temenos CDC, a nonprofit multi-unit housing development also founded by the Rasmuses, with a mission to serve Midtown Houston's homeless population.

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via Twins Trust / Twitter

Twins born with separate fathers are rare in the human population. Although there isn't much known about heteropaternal superfecundation — as it's known in the scientific community — a study published in The Guardian, says about one in every 400 sets of fraternal twins has different fathers.

Simon and Graeme Berney-Edwards, a gay married couple, from London, England both wanted to be the biological father of their first child.

"We couldn't decide on who would be the biological father," Simon told The Daily Mail. "Graeme said it should be me, but I said that he had just as much right as I did."

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With the election quickly approaching, the importance of voting and sending in your ballot on time is essential. But there is another way you can vote everyday - by being intentional with each dollar you spend. Support companies and products that uphold your values and help create a more sustainable world. An easy move is swapping out everyday items that are often thrown away after one use or improperly disposed of.

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Package Free Shop

2. Last Swab - Replacement for single use plastic cotton swabs. Nearly 25.5 billion single use swabs are produced and discarded every year in the U.S., but not this one. It lasts up to 1,000 uses as it's able to be cleaned with soap and water. It also comes in a biodegradable, corn based case so you can use it on the go!

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