Maisy’s, a former restaurant in downtown Baltimore, is one of the city’s many food service establishments that have closed during the pandemic. Image via Google Street View.
Maisy’s, a former restaurant in downtown Baltimore, is one of the city’s many food service establishments that have closed during the pandemic. Image via Google Street View.

MileOne Autogroup has teamed up with the Baltimore Restaurant Relief Fund to buy meals from Baltimore restaurants to feed unemployed restaurant workers as part of a new initiative called “Feed the Industry.”


Baltimore restaurants can apply to be a sponsor restaurant starting Dec. 30 at www.bmorerestaurantrelief.org.

Sponsor restaurants will get up to $1,500 to prepare meals for unemployed hospitality workers. Baltimore Restaurant Relief Fund will schedule dates for workers to pick up the meals from participating restaurants throughout January and February.

With Baltimore restaurants required to shut down indoor and outdoor dining and having to instead shift to carryout and delivery-only models, the initiative will be a much-needed relief for food service businesses and workers, said Dave Seel, board president of the Baltimore Restaurant Relief Fund.

“The timing and funding couldn’t be more critical,” Seel said in a statement. “Our goal with the ‘Feed The Industry’ initiative is to facilitate a chain of giving that financially supports Baltimore City restaurants while also helping to feed workers who are struggling due to the shutdowns. We’re thrilled that MileOne shares our vision for this initiative and cares about the state of our local industry.”

MileOne Autogroup committed $30,000 to launch the initiative, said Michael Fader, vice president of MileOne Holdings, MileOne Autogroup’s parent company.

“The stress and uncertainty of 2020 is nothing new for small business owners like restaurants that are the backbone of our city and are, unfortunately, bearing the brunt of the pandemic,” Fader said in a statement. “This program has a dual benefit in that it helps both restaurants and unemployed service industry workers … We are hoping that this will serve as a catalyst for support by other businesses that are in a position to help.”

Seel and others established the Baltimore Restaurant Relief Fund in March in response to the coronavirus-related challenges faced by Maryland’s restaurant and hospitality industry. The fund has raised more than $80,000 from local and national sponsors to support Baltimore’s restaurant industry.

In addition to his role with the relief fund, Seel is also the founder of Blue Fork Marketing, a Baltimore-based marketing and consulting firm for food and beverage, lifestyle, real estate, and hospitality brands.

Seel hopes “Feed the Industry” will be an ongoing initiative to help industry businesses and workers who have been hit hard by the pandemic.

“We all need to do our part to support our local restaurants and bars by ordering carryout every week, buying gift cards and tipping well,” Seel said. “Our ‘Feed The Industry’ Initiative is just another way that MileOne and Baltimore Restaurant Relief Fund can help during this time, but we all have to be working together to support the Baltimore restaurant industry, and we hope other foundations, businesses and funding institutions will help us continue this initiative and our mission.”

Days before Mayor Brandon Scott shut down indoor and outdoor dining, the Baltimore Restaurant Relief Fund on Dec. 5 committed $20,000 to develop and expand outdoor dining spaces at 20 Baltimore City and Baltimore County food and beverage businesses.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, the Baltimore Restaurant Relief Fund has also provided $100 micro grants to unemployed workers and sold KN95 masks below market costs for restaurants to provide to employees.

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Marcus Dieterle

Marcus Dieterle is the managing editor of Baltimore Fishbowl. He returned to Baltimore in 2020 after working as the deputy editor of the Cecil Whig newspaper in Elkton, Md. He can be reached at marcus@baltimorefishbowl.com...

One reply on “‘Feed the Industry’ launches to support local restaurants and restaurant workers”

  1. Wasn’t it just a year ago that restaurants were fighting the proposed minimum wage increase in the city?

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