Get Shift Done: New North Texas Fund Puts Hospitality Workers Hit by COVID-19 Back to Work—at Nonprofits

The initiative is the brainchild of business leaders Anurag Jain and Patrick Brandt.

Get Shift Done COVID-19

A new North Texas nonprofit called Get Shift Done is a timely trifecta of connections. It aims to help unemployed hospitality and service workers who have lost their paychecks during the COVID-19 crisis, while also supporting local nonprofits and impacting hunger relief.

The initiative, formed Wednesday, is the brainchild of business leaders Anurag Jain and Patrick Brandt. Working with the Communities Foundation of Texas, the pair created a fund to raise money that can put people in the North Texas hospitality industry back to work—at nonprofits.

Jain said the initiative’s goal is to help both the workers and the nonprofits facilitate delivering meals to those in need while providing wages to shift workers who are affected by the COVID-19 crisis, the organization said in an email to Dallas Innovates. 

An escalating need

Get Shift Done COVID-19

Anurag Jain

The Get Shift Done for North Texas Initiative is a true representation of getting stuff done: While hospitality workers displaced by COVID-19 seek new employment, they can get an income at a nonprofit, while helping others in need at the same time.

And it’s helping all parties involved. Following the news that restaurants and bars in Dallas will close their doors to flatten the curve during the coronavirus pandemic, many have been forced to file for unemployment or take temporary leave. Nonprofits and social impact organizations, on the other hand, are in high demand of volunteers while most of the country is under self-quarantine. 

Get Shift Done, which was established at Communities Foundation of Texas, intends to raise the money needed to provide wages to hourly workers acting as volunteers. Donations are currently being actively pursued to support the effort. All remaining funds will be used to support nonprofits in the workforce development and hunger relief space. 

Helping others by helping themselves

“We saw that the volunteer population for our local nonprofits were experiencing an escalating need for volunteers during this crisis and the at-risk population needs for food and resources were spiking,” Jain, chairman of Access Healthcare and managing partner of Perot Jain, said. “We also know there is a large number of workers in the food and beverage hospitality industry that are currently in need of work.”

Shifts will be at local nonprofits that prepare and deliver meals to at-risk populations—children, elderly, families—in North Texas during the pandemic. A job might require preparing, assembling, or delivering meals.

In addition, Get Shift Done has partnered with restaurant industry leaders in North Texas to offer their staff shifts at the local nonprofits.

Restaurants will schedule their staff at the nonprofits at the wage rate of $10 hour. Then, Get Shift Done would pay for the gig—essentially allowing those in the hospitality industry to help others, while helping themselves. 

Shiftsmart will manage scheduling, dispatching

Get Shift Done COVID-19

Patrick Brandt

Jain and Brandt launched the idea with support from their respective companies, community leaders, restaurant owners, and other nonprofit organizations, such as North Texas Food Bank, where Jain serves as chairman of the board, the statement said.

Shiftsmart, a worker-centric online marketplace that helps companies facing staffing requirements, will use its platform and operations team to handle the shifts. That includes onboarding, matching, scheduling, dispatching and routing of workers.

And, the food bank’s existing infrastructure will be leveraged to match workers to availability. 

“We want to do our part and help our community during this crisis,” Shiftsmart President Brandt said. He said that through its partnership with the North Texas Food Bank, the fund will be able to serve more than 1 million meals and provide wages to more than 1,000 workers per week, beginning this Thursday. 

For more information about Get Shift Done, go here.

Alex Edwards and Quincy Preston contributed to this report.

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