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United Way needs help to assist restaurants in feeding those in need

Published: Feb. 13, 2021 at 8:41 PM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) -There are plenty of good spirits at Tent City Taphouse, and it’s not just from the wine.

Guests are in good moods as the downtown Anchorage restaurant deals with limited capacity during the pandemic.

“It’s tough, but, we’re getting through it for sure,” said Executive Chef Daniel Shier.

He and the rest of the staff have help. Tent City Taphouse is among the newest members of the Restaurant Relief Program.

Alaska Hospitality Retailers and the United Way teamed up to help Anchorage restaurants struggling to stay in business.

“It’s kind of a full circle thing. It’s kind of a way to stimulate restaurants, and give people some hours who have been cut,” Shier said. “Maybe bring some people back. At the same time, it’s helping out our fellow citizens.”

The program has helped more than 320 restaurant workers, ten of them at Tent City Taphouse.

“They were struggling,” said Clark Halvorson, the president and CEO of the United Way of Anchorage. “We had people really suffering from not getting enough food.”

The Lucky Wishbone is another restaurant that has participated in the program. The Municipality of Anchorage set aside $600,000 of its federal CARES funds, while the Alaska Community Foundation contributed $125,000 to extend the work that also provided meals to those in need. However, that money ended in December.

First National Bank Alaska has since provided funds for another 10,000 meals to 32 agencies. But, the United Way now needs your help. That money runs out in four weeks.

“When you think of people struggling to pay their mortgage, pay their rent, that’s where we kind of come up with the win-win-win,” Halvorson said. “It’s about the restaurants, it’s about the staff, and it’s about those in the community that are really suffering from a food insecurity.”

The United Way estimates it will have provided more than 60,000 meals to Alaskans by the end of Valentine’s Day.

“I grew up from those low income, that side of the world,” Shier said. “To be able to give back is huge.”

Daniel Shier continues to do his part to help feed those in need, now he hopes others will join him.

Log onto the United Way’s website to learn how you can help support the program.

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