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Charlottesville food pantry feeds recently unemployed restaurant workers

Updated: Mar. 31, 2020 at 8:39 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - A catering company from Charlottesville is teaming up with Sysco Virginia and other businesses to make sure restaurant employees recently out of work can keep food on the table.

A line of people wrapped Walter Slawski’s parking lot waiting for food Tuesday, March 31. Slawski has transformed his closed dining room at The Catering Outfit into a food pantry to help restaurant employees who recently lost their jobs.

"To be able to give back to the community now in a time of need is pretty awesome." Slawski said.

Some of those affected include his own former employees, like Raymond Dillard.

"It’s just stressful when everybody's calling you for your bills, and you don't have any income to pay those bills." Dillard said.

More than $6,000 worth of food was passed out in the first 45 minutes alone Tuesday morning, a majority of which came from local businesses and Sysco Virginia.

“Charlottesville is a huge restaurant town, so that’s a lot of people who have been affected.” Jason Haddock with Sysco Virginia said.

Slawski estimates hundreds of people came out to get food, showing how great the need is.

“Restaurant people don’t typically have a lot of other options. I mean, it’s a very specialized business so if the restaurants don’t come back after this, what’re those people going to do? Where are they going to go?” Slawski asked.

“We’ll get through this. Restaurant people have more resolve, they know how to buckle down and get through a crisis.” Haddock said.

Organizers are hoping to host another food pantry on Thursday, April 2, but need more food. If you are interested in donating, you can drop off food at The Catering Outfit at 221 Carlton Road.

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