Featured image: Brad Kaplan
It’s been a decade since Atlanta nonprofit Giving Kitchen first launched with the mission to provide financial support and other critical need services to restaurant and hospitality workers in crisis. Over the last 10 years, nearly 13,000 people have benefited from the organization’s financial assistance, health clinics, mental health programs, and eviction avoidance services. Giving Kitchen hopes to serve an additional 5,000 workers in 2023, with plans to double that number in 2024 as it continues to grow its reach in Georgia and the Southeast.
Giving Kitchen was honored in 2019 with the Humanitarian of the Year Award from the James Beard Foundation for its continued dedication to serving the restaurant industry’s workforce. During the acceptance speech, Giving Kitchen co-founder Jen Hidinger-Kendrick recalled the day that sparked the idea behind the nonprofit. Her late husband, chef Ryan Hidinger, died in 2014 following a two-year battle with gall bladder cancer. He was 35. A year prior to his death, the Atlanta restaurant industry and diners rallied around the couple and threw a benefit to offset the costs of Hidinger’s cancer treatments. The benefit raised over $300,000. Hidinger asked that the funds from the event go to “help others like me.”
Between the annual Team Hidi benefits, individual and corporate donations, and other community events, Giving Kitchen has awarded more than $9 million in financial aid over the last decade.