Established in 2020, our Chicago Relief Fund has distributed more than $2,502,439 to individuals in the food and beverage industry in crisis.


The Chicago Restaurant Worker Relief Fund was created to help Chicago restaurant, bar and coffee shop workers who are experiencing hardship from the COVID-19 crisis. This fund will provide emergency relief grants based on need to these workers who have lost wages or employment due to the shutdown for the pandemic.

Grants will be awarded to applicants who meet eligibility requirements, including demonstrated need, as assessed by Southern Smoke Foundation, a nonprofit organization that also administers a national food and beverage Emergency Relief fund.


While Southern Smoke’s national Emergency Relief Fund does support everyone in the food and beverage industry, including farmers, distillery workers, wine makers, beverage delivery drivers, etc., this Chicago-specific fund is for restaurant and bar workers only. If you work in the food and beverage industry but not directly for a restaurant or bar, please apply for Southern Smoke’s nationwide Emergency Relief Fund here.

Now Hiring

We are now hiring those who have been furloughed or are unemployed from the restaurant industry in Cook County to become caseworkers, application screeners, communication specialists, processors, and more! All positions pay $15 per hour and require intense dedication and self-motivation.

Please APPLY HERE FOR POTENTIAL EMPLOYMENT WITH SOUTHERN SMOKE  to help save and change the lives of your peers who work or worked in the Chicago restaurant industry.