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Rachael Ray and Guy Fieri Give Big to Food Charities, Restaurants, and Service Worker Funds

Plus, Panera is pivoting to groceries, and more news to start your day

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Rachael Ray and Guy Fieri
Rachael Ray and Guy Fieri
Photo by Gustavo Caballero/Getty Images
Jaya Saxena is a Correspondent at, and the series editor of Best American Food Writing. She explores wide ranging topics like labor, identity, and food culture.

Guy Fieri and Rachael Ray are donating money, time to help the industry

By now the numbers might be familiar: 10 million people have applied for unemployment, billions of dollars have been lost in the restaurant industry, and food banks are struggling to meet demand. Among those trying to bring attention to these crises are Food Network stars Guy Fieri and Rachael Ray.

Through the Rachael Ray Foundation and her Yum-o! organization, Ray will be donating $2 million to organizations like World Central Kitchen, City Harvest, and the National Restaurant Association. She will also be donating $2 million to various animal welfare charities. “My overall goal with these donations is to support American families affected during the Covid-19 crisis with assistance for two-legged and four-legged family members,” she said in a press release.

Fieri has also partnered with the National Restaurant Association to raise $100 million for its employee relief fund, which will distribute $500 grants to eligible applicants. “I’ve been in the restaurant business my whole life. This is all I know,” he told the Washington Post, “As soon as this happened and the restaurants started closing, I looked at my wife and said, ‘What are all these people going to do?’ ” As of last week, the fund had reached $10 million.

While both Ray and Fieri are showing great. commendable generosity during this crisis, the need for their help greatly underscores how little most people are supported by unemployment insurance or other federal benefits.

And in other news...

  • Panera Bread is launching Panera Grocery, a grocery service delivering dairy, produce and bread as well as Panera’s prepared foods. [Panera Bread]
  • As groceries like Walmart and Amazon struggle to keep things in stock (and their employees protest poor treatment), many people are filling their pantries with DTC food goods bought off Instagram. [Modern Retail]
  • The struggles of making wine during a pandemic. [Wine Spectator]
  • Don’t lie, Cheetos and Easy Mac is what you’re craving right now. [NY Times]
  • People with food allergies are experiencing particular hardship as grocery stores run out of the foods they can eat. [NY Times]
  • McDonald’s employees in LA went on strike for safety supplies, but management instead implemented a calendar “encouraging employees to participate in McDonald’s Trivia Game Day, Raffle Day and Candy Day.” [HuffPo]
  • A good explanation of what the food supply chain looks like right now: