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Generosity Abounds on All Sides in Pandemic Response

As Minnesotans adjust to their second stint of sheltering in place and restaurateurs are waiting to see if their PPP and SBA loans have been approved and for the funding in reach their bank accounts, a number of restaurateurs are being proactive in raising funds for the laid-off employees. In addition, small businesses are setting up pipelines to get snacks and nourishment to health care workers who are on the frontlines of dealing with this pandemic. We know this is only a handful of the outreach, but we’ll continue to update in the coming days and weeks.


Chef/Owner Gavin Kaysen and his wife Linda made a $10,000 donation to his restaurant company’s Heart of the House Foundation, a non-profit organization founded by Kaysen and Alison Arth to “sustain the growth, health and prosperity of the Soigné Hospitality family.” The foundation’s logo is inspired by kintsugi, the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery by mending the cracked pieces with gold, adding value and beauty to the piece.Donations can be made at https://staysoigne.com/heart-of-the-house/.

Other restaurants, such as Travail and Seward Co-op, have turned to crowdfunding to help their employees. Open Table has a link on its email marketing pieces encouraging diners to support their local restaurants by donating to their employee fund drives. “By giving directly to restaurants, you can help the heart and soul of our cities survive,” their pitch says. The link to find restaurants in your area is: https://tinyurl.com/sqyv4x4


To help people support Cookie Cart's youth programming and at the same time show appreciation to frontline workers battling COVID-19, the nonprofit has added an option to purchase cookies to be donated to local healthcare facilities. They have partnered with Children’s Minnesota, Fairview Southdale and HealthPartners Riverside Clinic to deliver cookies within each facilities’ guidelines. The cost for a dozen cookies is $15 and deliveries are made weekly.

 The entrepreneurs at Midtown Global Market have created a fundraising campaign called “Meals for Medics” to show appreciation for healthcare and medical workers at the neighboring Abbott Northwestern Hospital.  Midtown Global’s GoFundMe campaign, launched on April 1, is requesting donations start at $10, which would be the average cost for one meal from the restaurants in the market. The link to donate is:



On April 2, The Minneapolis Foundation launched its companion campaign, “Text to Give” campaign to also support “Meals for Medics.” Text mealsformedics to 24372 and it will forward a response to a link to donate. Each donation up to $10,000 will be matched by The Minneapolis Foundation. As of April 10, $19,972 had been raised from 148 donors on a goal of $10,000.


Kakookies’ Founder Sue Kakuk passed on the message to the membership of Women Who Really Cook about how they could provide their products to the MN Hero Snack Pack, organized by Robyn Frank of Thumbs Cookies. A $25 donation provides snacks for eight to 10 medical workers, and also helps recoup the cost for small food businesses that also have been hit by the COVID-19 crisis and have been donating their goods to help out. The link to donate: http://Tinyurl.com/mnherosnackpack

Some of the businesses behind the effort include: Maddy and Maize popcorn, North Mallow marshmallows, Ommies Snacks (energy bars), Flackers Crackers, Kakookies, Thumb Cookies, North Star Kombucha, Isadore Nut Co., Zozos Sweet Treats and Gustola Granola.


Creative marketing: Grandview Lodge sent a link to its email list to take a virtual tour for their stay-at-home spring break. While viewing the beautiful resort in Nisswa is a welcome sight—or (web)site in today’s world—let’s hope we can all return to vacationing in person soon. 


The Edina LifeCafe, located in the parking lot Southdale Center, was only for a short while before health clubs were ordered to close due to social distancing. But while you can’t exercise at Life Time Fitness, you can still eat healthy while you exercise at home. LifeCafe is offering curbside carryout for its smoothies, sandwiches, salads and other menu items, in individual or family-style portions.


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