Get Shift Done, the initiative formed in the wake of COVID-19 that connects the affected hospitality workforce with local non-profits to serve and provide hunger relief to communities, today announced the national expansion of their program through a newly formed fund to help address the need of unemployment and hunger relief. The initiative has provided, packaged, distributed, delivered and/or served 18 million meals in 90 days since its inception. More than 11,000 hospitality workers who lost their paychecks are registered with the program and have worked 165,000 hours among 70+ hunger relief non-profit organizations in response to the recent surge in demand.
Other cities and regions soon began to contact Get Shift Done (getshiftdone.org) requesting to expand the model from its origin in Dallas/Fort Worth to their communities. The initiative shifted their focus to scale their model nationally. Get Shift Done for North America was launched with flagship national supporters Capital One, Sarah and Ross Perot Jr. Foundation, Access Healthcare and Shiftsmart. The fund provides seed money to match funds with participating cities implementing their own hunger relief programs. Each additional city identifies its participating workforce and non-profit local food access providers, then launches the program with the donated use of Shiftsmart’s hourly worker marketplace platform technology to register and match workers for shifts.
“We heard from other cities wanting to launch the program in their communities and found strong partners in Austin, Central Arkansas, El Paso, Houston, Lufkin, New Orleans, Northwest Arkansas, Rio Grande Valley, San Antonio, and Washington D.C. They directed us to the food banks with strong infrastructure in place, allowing us to rapidly help provide food to families in need,” said Patrick Brandt, Co-founder of Get Shift Done and President of Shiftsmart.
Get Shift Done was launched in mid-March when the country’s unemployment rate was moving up quickly from a low 3.5% with the initial idea that the program would be a short-term relief effort during the pandemic crisis. In 90 days, 44 million people have applied for unemployment in the United States and food insecurity has risen to one in five households.
Dallas business and community leaders, Anurag Jain, Chairman of Access Healthcare, an initial financial supporter, and Chairman of the Board of North Texas Food Bank, and Patrick Brandt, President of Shiftsmart, decided a short-term solution should be designed and put into action. Together, along with Access Healthcare and Shiftsmart, they were initial financial supporters and launched Get Shift Done along with the help of founding supporters that include Sarah and Ross Perot Jr. Foundation, Communities Foundation of Texas, Lyda Hill Philanthropies, Mark Cuban, Craig & Kathryn Hall and others.
As one of the first financial supporters of Get Shift Done, Ross Perot, Jr., Chairman of The Perot Companies and Hillwood Development, also supports the national fund to launch new cities. “When you see an innovative, simple and efficient solution that directly responds to urgent issues like hunger relief and unemployment, we are deeply grateful to participate,” said Perot.
Get Shift Done offers an innovative solution to provide wages to hourly workers who serve shifts at local food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters and other community agencies answering the urgent need for hunger relief to their area’s children, elderly, individuals and families in need. As jobless claims began spiking and increasing numbers of food bank volunteers were sheltering-in-place, Get Shift Done was formed to match displaced hospitality and service workers with local food access providers who provide meals for the food-insecure population. The model provides direct income to the hourly workers and increases the amount of food that can be delivered to those in need.
Capital One invested nationally to support the expansion to more U.S. cities and partners. “At Capital One, we are focused on supporting the relief and recovery of people impacted by COVID-19, and swiftly addressing the evolving needs of our communities,” said Andy Navarrete, Head of External Affairs, Capital One. “As a national partner of Get Shift Done, we see power in their workforce development model, and believe harnessing such ingenuity will be what gets us through our collective recovery.”
National hospitality foundations, The J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation and The Conrad N. Hilton Foundation are regional supporters of the program. The unemployment rate in May 2020 for hospitality workers was 35.9% and both foundations joined with Get Shift Done to connect their colleagues with the critical and growing need for labor.
Food insecurity gripped almost one in eight Americans, or about 40 million people prior to the pandemic. The current public health crisis drastically increased those numbers, and food banks were desperate for a trained workforce to handle the demand. Recent studies have found that 40.9 percent of mothers with children ages 12 and under reported food insecurity in their families since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Food banks across the country are seeing many families that are visiting for the first time. Directors of food access providers have reported that the Get Shift Done workers are very efficient and because of their experience handling food, are able to process more meals in less time than their volunteer workforce.
“The alliance of these new communities and Get Shift Done is a win for both sides. When you apply a large displaced workforce in the food, beverage and hospitality industries, an innovative solution emerges that provides an answer to many needs,” said Jain.
The expansion of the Get Shift Done initiative to other communities throughout the U.S. is aligning the power of national partnerships, seed funding and technology to offer a turnkey program making it possible for many cities to launch promptly. The movement represents a fundamental change in community service built to provide economic stabilization for both workers and communities in need.
About Get Shift Done
The Get Shift Done model provides direct income to unemployed food and service industry workers while providing skilled shift work to food banks and other non-profits providing critical resources for hunger relief. Get Shift Done workers are people who know food helping people who need food. For more information, visit getshiftdone.org.
The Shiftsmart platform redefines how workers and companies connect, work, grow and pay all in one platform that optimizes workflow, incentives, time and money for both. For more information, visit shiftsmart.com.