People in the industry, we like to give. We give first before we take and they’ve been giving and giving, and now we need to give back to them."
This week’s Dish’n Dames feature is giving back to the industry that has given so much to her and to so many others.
For anyone who has ever worked in the food and beverage industry, shift meal can be far more than just a quick bite before work. It’s time to get to learn new things about the menu, a time for camaraderie, and for some, it is the one meal they depend on daily.
As a former restaurant industry worker, sommelier, and co-founder of Communal Wines, founder of Austin Shift Meal, Mandi Nelson, knows exactly how important this one meal can be to so many. So, when COVID-19 hit in early 2020 and the food and beverage industry was brought to their knees, Mandi knew she had to do something about it.
Inspired by a community food effort in Houston, Mandi founded Austin Shift Meal to provide meals to restaurant and hospitality workers who have been left jobless as a result of the pandemic. Together with help from the Austin Food & Wine Alliance, generous sponsors and donations, Mandi and the incredible team at Austin Shift Meal have provided more than 2,000 meals to the Austin restaurant worker community since early May of this year.
Through community and restaurant partnerships, Mandi has been able to offer high-quality food and beverages, all while providing the same level of service and hospitality so many of these former food and beverage veterans have delivered over their careers. Austin Shift Meal volunteers set up at different restaurant locations across the city of Austin to prepare 50 meals a day with snacks and drinks each Tuesday.
It is Mandi’s hope that post-pandemic the need for food support within the hospitality industry will dry up, but until then, she and Austin Shift Meal are committed to serving those in need.
For more information on how you can volunteer, donate, or offer sponsorship, go to austinshiftmeal.com.