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Raleigh law firm helps support struggling restaurants with $5K donation

Posted March 16, 2021 5:00 a.m. EDT

The food service and restaurant industry was one of the hardest hit during the pandemic. As a result of not being able to operate at full capacity for almost a year, it's estimated that more than 110,000 restaurants nationwide have been forced to close their doors. (weyo/Big Stock Photo)

This article was written for our sponsor, Whitley Law Firm.

The food service and restaurant industry was one of the hardest hit during the pandemic. As a result of not being able to operate at full capacity for almost a year, it's estimated that more than 110,000 restaurants nationwide have been forced to close their doors.

In North Carolina, restaurants took an additional hit this past winter as traffic declined even further due to colder temperatures, which dissuaded patrons from outdoor seating options.

Lynn Minges, president of the N.C. Restaurant and Lodging Association, told the Carolina Public Press that if restaurants don't receive more support going forward, "the industry will face some serious challenges."

While Gov. Roy Cooper recently eased COVID-19 safety restrictions to allow more people at bars and restaurants, the year of financial loss for restaurants is still being deeply felt by North Carolina business owners.

"Many of the restaurants in our community are struggling and we felt an urge to help," said Ben Whitley, partner at Whitley Law Firm in Raleigh. "People are still suffering and government assistance is only doing so much for some people right now."

Whitley Law Firm donated $5,000 to the North Carolina Restaurant & Lodging Association's Foundation to offer relief to restaurants who have faced hardships during the pandemic.

This philanthropic foundation exists to enhance the hospitality industry's service to the public through education, community service, community engagement and promotion of career opportunities. Additionally, it works to attract, develop, support, and retain a career-oriented professional workforce for the hospitality industry.

"Many organizations experience a decline in donations after the holiday season, and the Whitley Law Firm wanted to step in to fill the void," said Whitley. "The hardworking men and women in the hospitality industry have been disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 restrictions. They do so much for us throughout the year, and now it is our turn to help them. We felt like this was the best way that we could put money in the pockets of people in our community to help them get through this."

The law firm is also challenging other law firms across North Carolina to show their support for hospitality workers by donating to the NCRLA. The donations help employees in the hospitality industry who are facing financial hardship obtain much-needed funding because of furloughs and reduced working hours caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Giving back to the community is a core principle of the Whitley Law Firm, and the donation is but one of several philanthropic efforts the firm has made over the past year. The firm has donated to numerous food banks to address food insecurity throughout the pandemic, helped with the curation and distribution of thousands of face masks to local farm workers, and boosted local business by purchasing gifts to give away during its 12 Days of Giving in December 2020.

This article was written for our sponsor, Whitley Law Firm.

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