By Lori Fredrich Senior Food Writer, Dining Editor, Podcast Host Published May 28, 2020 at 6:16 PM

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The world is changing rapidly for area bars and restaurants, most of which have been forced to adjust their operations in myriad ways to face the challenges of COVID-19.

Nearly all have cut hours for workers. Many have laid off a high percentage of their work force. Some – including large mult-unit groups like The Bartolotta Restaurants, Hospitality Democracy and The Lowlands Group – have chosen to close their doors completely while trying their best to provide for workers while waiting for government assistance.

Others remain open, offering carry-out and delivery services to muster the minimum income needed to keep their bare-bones operations running. As a result, restaurant and bar workers are experiencing sudden – and devastating – financial challenges. Workers who rely on customer tips to make up the vast majority of their incomes have found themselves in crisis.

Restaurants have rallied, reaching out to governmental officials about their urgent concerns for support. But, in the meantime, they are relying on friends, neighbors and community to offer support.

If you’d like to make a difference, here are some simple things you can do. 

Take action

Give to Service Industry Funds

National Relief Funds

I will be adding to this list as additional opportunities arise. If you know of a fund or means for assisting workers, please email me at with details.

Lori Fredrich Senior Food Writer, Dining Editor, Podcast Host

Lori is an avid cook whose accrual of condiments and spices is rivaled only by her cookbook collection. Her passion for the culinary industry was birthed while balancing A&W root beer mugs as a teenage carhop, fed by insatiable curiosity and fueled by the people whose stories entwine with each and every dish. She’s had the privilege of chronicling these tales via numerous media, including OnMilwaukee and in her book “Milwaukee Food.” Her work has garnered journalism awards from entities including the Milwaukee Press Club. 

When she’s not eating, photographing food, writing or recording the FoodCrush podcast, you’ll find Lori seeking out adventures with her husband Paul, traveling, cooking, reading, learning, snuggling with her cats and looking for ways to make a difference.