LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - JANUARY 07: Guy Fieri demos Echo Frames at the Amazon After Hours event during CES 2020 at The Venetian Las Vegas on January 07, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Roger Kisby/Getty Images for Amazon Devices and Services)

Congress Should Really Be Watching Guy Fieri and Taking Notes

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As 2020 draws to a close, people across the country have spent the better part of the year suffering financially. The CDC’s moratorium on evictions is about to end in a few weeks. An estimated 100,000 businesses have permanently closed due to COVID-19. Throughout all of it, Congress has issued a mere $1200 to Americans and the loans issued to small businesses have proven to fall far short of the need.

Meanwhile, Guy Fieri, the mayor of Flavortown, is out here finding ways to help people working in the restaurant industry. Fieri jumped into action all the way back in March and set up the Restaurant Employee Relief Fund (RERF), which offered $500 grants to about 43,000 individuals.

According to a report from, the money came primarily from “personal pleas” Fieri made to corporations like PepsiCo and UberEats (not to mention a nacho-making competition with Bill Murray), because I suppose it comes in handy to have decades of experience and connections in the restaurant industry, along with a reputation as a genuinely great person.

According to the RERF website, 60% of the grants have gone to restaurant workers who identify as women and about 50% have gone to BIPOC workers. At a time when tips are down and harassment is up for these employees, both the money and the appreciation it conveys are nice offerings.

I didn’t expect Guy Fieri and Dolly Parton to be the ultimate heroes of 2020 and honestly, I don’t know why not.

Fieri also has a movie on the way. Restaurant Hustle 2020 is a documentary “spotlighting the challenges the industry continues to face.” It will debut on the Food Network on December 27th.

(via Bloomberg, image: Roger Kisby/Getty Images for Amazon Devices and Services)

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Vivian Kane
Vivian Kane (she/her) is the Senior News Editor at The Mary Sue, where she's been writing about politics and entertainment (and all the ways in which the two overlap) since the dark days of late 2016. Born in San Francisco and radicalized in Los Angeles, she now lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where she gets to put her MFA to use covering the local theatre scene. She is the co-owner of The Pitch, Kansas City’s alt news and culture magazine, alongside her husband, Brock Wilbur, with whom she also shares many cats.