For us to help, we need help.

From Hurricane Beryl to fires in Ruidoso, and every crisis in between, Southern Smoke Foundation is there for food and beverage workers. We keep families safe in their homes. We keep the lights on for thousands. We keep the industry moving.

Application Deadlines
Ruidoso fires: Wednesday, July 31, 2024
Hurricane Beryl: Friday, August 16, 2024

For us to grant emergency relief funds to our applicants, we need funding, too.

Help us help someone today.

Emergency relief fund

When you
reach out,
we reach back.

How We Help

Our organization was started by fellow F+B workers who’ve felt the heat of this industry firsthand. Injuries strike. Doors close. You never saw it coming. But you’re not out of options, and you’re not alone. We’re here to put dollars in your hand and restore peace to your mind.

Over the years, our nonprofit funds have been used to pay for essentials like groceries, clothing, and medications, and have covered the cost of rent, natural disaster damages, lost wages, and more. There’s no deadline for requests and no cap on the amount given. We want anyone to feel comfortable asking for what they need.

How You Qualify

Applicants are eligible for funding every 12 months. To qualify, you must be experiencing an unforeseen crisis and currently be employed within the food and beverage industry, working at least 30 hours per week for a minimum of six (6) months.

Types of crises include:

  • Accident
  • Change of circumstance
  • Housing Crisis
  • Medical/dental issue
  • Natural disaster
  • Victim of crime or violence

If you have any doubts about whether you qualify, please email us at

We recognize that all situations are unique and may not be listed here.
Are you a business owner or self-employed? Info for you right here.

What We’ll Need From You

Help us fight for you! The more you share with us, the more we can share back. We know that hunting down documents and details takes time, but this is how we’re able to understand exactly what you need and build the best case we can for you as quickly as possible. Please be as specific as you can—we’re really listening.

Here’s what we will require to build your case:

  • Name and background details (applications are anonymous)
  • A few sentences that help us understand your reason for applying and the challenges you’re facing—like missed work, property damage, loss of family, unforeseen medical or childcare expenses, etc.
  • Employment verification, including paystubs
  • Supporting documents like leases, eviction notices, medical bills, utility statements, etc.
  • Public record

Need help finding the right documents?

View Examples

What You Can Expect

  • A kind person.

    A real human being—who really does care—thoroughly reads and reviews requests, taking every detail of each situation into account. We build relationships with each applicant and stay in close communication throughout the process.

  • Flexible funds.

    Funds are scaled to fit each situation—no ask is too big or too small. Don’t be afraid to say what you need.

  • No deadlines.

    There’s no grant cycle or deadline to apply, which means we’re able to offer continuous support and relief. No one can predict when crises occur.

  • Help fast.

    We grant funds as quickly as we can relative to the immediacy of the need, communicating application outcomes within a week or, in life-threatening circumstances, within a few hours. See the application timeline below.

  • Total privacy.

    The application process is completely anonymous. Only Southern Smoke case workers will see an application in its entirety.

  • Thoughtful guidance.

    Even if you don’t qualify for funds when you apply, we’ll explain how you can next time. We’ll also point you to trusted resources in your region that can help.

Begin the application process.

Apply Today

Frequently Asked Questions

Who qualifies for this program?

If the F+B industry cannot exist without what you do, we support you. This includes chefs, line cooks, barbacks, bartenders, servers, food runners, general managers, dishwashers, and shift supervisors. It can also include farmers, distillery workers, vineyard workers, beverage distributors, winemakers, sommeliers… and the list goes on. Southern Smoke Foundation was created to support everyone who makes this industry possible.

Are business owners or self-employed workers eligible for help?


We don’t provide direct funding to businesses. Instead, we assist individuals who own or operate F&B businesses, as well as self-employed individuals, with unforeseen crisis funding. However, we determine the qualifying criteria based on your business. To ensure that your business meets our qualifications, we require proof of income and documentation that can help us verify your business. Once we receive your application and verify the information provided, we will open a case for you. To apply for funding, you must provide the following required documents:

Employment information:

  • Paystubs and/or any draws taken for the last twelve months
  • If you directly transfer funds, we will need copies of your banking documents

Business documentation:

  • EIN letter
  • 2023 P&L (general)
  • 2022 tax filing (or most recent)
  • Business lease agreement
  • Food handler’s license
  • Proof of insurance
Who should I contact if my case is urgent?

We are here for you. We grant funds as quickly as we can relative to the immediacy of the need and timeliness of receiving all necessary documents from the applicant. Please email for any questions or updates.

Do you offer mental health resources?

Yes, this is a very real need, especially in this industry. Through our mental health program, Behind You, we provide no-cost mental health counseling for F+B workers in California, Illinois, Louisiana, New York, and Texas. Those who live outside of the service states can apply for financial assistance for mental health crises through our Emergency Relief Fund (above).


Learn more.

What kind of impact has Southern Smoke Foundation made in the industry?

Since 2015, we’ve distributed more than $11 million to an incredibly diverse and deserving group of F+B workers across the country. Take a look at our Impact Map.