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‘It’s a band-aid’ -- Detroit nonprofit raises money for food service workers in need

‘We’re trying to supplement a situation that needs to be solved by the federal government,’ Stephen Roginson says

DETROIT – Like many other bars and restaurants, everything changed for Batch Brewing Company when the pandemic hit.

Batch Brewing Company spent the summer building a large outdoor pavilion to prepare for a potential indoor dining-shutdown. That shutdown happened and now Stephen Roginson, the owner of Batch Brewing Company, is using the space to help others in the hospitality business.

On weeknights, Roginson invites other restaurants to sell their food at Batch, so the restaurants without outdoor space can survive. On Saturdays, the space hosts pop-ups where people pay what they can for beer and food.

“We take the profit from that all that money, minus food cost, and we’re contributing that from Batch Brewing Company to the Feelgood Tap,” Roginson said.

The Feelgood Tap is a Michigan nonprofit that was raised more than $40,000 for hospitality workers who have been impacted from the pandemic in Detroit, Hamtramck and Highland Park.

“It’s a surreal sensation to just be sitting and sending people, money, money. People you don’t know, just clicking and sending money,” Roginson said. “Every once in a while, you come across a name that you recognize, and you get a text message and it’s really gratifying.”

As of Dec. 16, 275 people have applied. Roginson said they’re getting $160 each.

“It’s a band-aid. We’re trying to supplement a situation that needs to be solved by the federal government,” Roginson said. “We are waiting on the federal government to jump in and give the food industry the kind of support that the auto industry got after the 2008 downturn.”

He said he wants to continue to help his peers in the industry by hosting more pay-what-you-can events, but if you can always donate directly to the Feelgood Tap on its official website here.

Wayne County launches program in support of workers affected by Michigan’s latest COVID-19 restrictions

Wayne County launched a program in support of workers in the restaurant, hospitality, entertainment and fitness industries who have been impacted by Michigan’s recent COVID-19 restrictions.

Application for the Wayne County Cares Program opened on Dec. 10. Anyone selected will receive a one-time payment of $500.

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