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CultureMap Houston
March 29, 2022
Courageous Houston chef battling cancer uncorks April fundraiser to help restaurant workers in need

“I have insurance. I’m not worried about whether I’ll be able to cover bills or have dinner on the table. The reality is, this sucks, but focusing on other problems helps me bring mine into perspective. It could be a lot worse.”

- Chef Daniel Wolfe, Creator of Corks for Cancer
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Vine pair
March 15, 2022
Resy and American Express Want to Buy You Dinner For a Good Cause

“The campaign’s first one million reservation benchmark unlocked a $500,000 donation to nonprofit Southern Smoke, a crisis relief organization for workers in the food and beverage industry. Founded in 2015, the nonprofit [distributed] more than $6 million to 2,744 individuals between March 2020 and March 2021, according to its website.”

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CultureMap Houston
January 24, 2022
Houston’s Best Food And Drink Talent Star In New Charity Pop-Up Series

“Proceeds from sandwich sales will benefit Southern Smoke, the non-profit established by James Beard Award winner Chris Shepherd that provides cash assistance to hospitality workers in crisis situations.”

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Chicago sun-times
January 13, 2022
For Chicago’s Frustrated Restaurant Workers, Life Will Never Be the Same

“The Southern Smoke Foundation’s Chicago Restaurant Workers Relief Fund granted $15,800 to Frantz to pay off his overdue rent and outstanding medical bills, according to the organization. He also received financial assistance from another program to pay off his electricity bill, and he received food through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.”

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Decaturish
December 02, 2021
The Lost Druid Chef Wins Kellogg’s Away From Home ‘I’m Not Chicken’ Challenge

“The contest challenged chefs and operators in Atlanta to try plant-based Incogmeato by MorningStar Farms Homestyle Chik’n Tenders by creating unique dishes for the opportunity to wine $10,000, a three-month supply of the chik’n tenders and help support the restaurant industry, according to a press release.”

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Open table
September 17, 2021
How Pandemic Dining Is Affecting Restaurant Workers’ Mental Health

“The industry itself is doing a much better job of talking about mental health and taking it really seriously. We have seen tremendous growth here versus when we first started our mental health program at Southern Smoke. But, in the case of individuals, they should find out what resources are available to them in their area.”

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Robb report
June 23, 2021
The Best in Dining: The People Who Stepped Up to Meet the Restaurant Industry’s Worst Moment

“On a single day in March 2020, the foundation received more than double the number of applications for relief as in all the months after Hurricane Harvey. The following day it logged close to triple.”

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Robb Report
June 22, 2021
Best of the Best 2021: Southern Smoke Foundation

“On a single day in March 2020, the foundation received more than double the number of applications for relief as in all the months after Hurricane Harvey. The following day it logged close to triple.”

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bar & restaurant
May 21, 2021
Southern Smoke: From Dinner Fundraiser to Charitable Powerhouse

“We closed 2020 as a $10 million + organization. As long as the need is there, we will answer the call. But our true hope is that one day we won’t be needed any longer.”

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Taste of the South
May 20, 2021
Taste 50 2021: Organizations Making a Difference

“Since launching, Southern Smoke Foundation has been providing relief to those in the food and beverage industry when they are in need—most recently during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

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culturemap Houston
April 20, 2021
Chris Shepherd's Houston hospitality charity receives smokin' $1 million donation

“The big milestones are cool. They don’t matter unless we get everybody taken care of, though.”

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Good Morning America
March 04, 2021
Chef Chris Shepherd kicks off new Shake Shack collaborations series

“In 2017 after Hurricane Harvey, Shepherd said they switched up the initial purpose of the Southern Smoke Foundation to now grant families money through donations for an emergency relief fund “so that any time anybody in our industry got into some type of crisis they had some place to go.”

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culturemap Houston
February 04, 2021
What's cooking at Houston's smokin' food charity

“Southern Smoke evolved into a crisis relief organization after Hurricane Harvey, but the coronavirus pandemic thrust it into the spotlight. Lott explains how the organization has responded to the crisis both by staffing up to deal with a nationwide influx of applications and by staying true to its core mission of primarily assisting people with emergency medical and housing situations.”

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abc 13 Houston
January 22, 2021
Southern Smoke awards $4.5M to hospitality works since start of pandemic

“Chris Shepherd’s Southern Smoke Foundation has served several roles since its inception in 2015. It began as a charity to help fight multiple sclerosis, pivoted to help victims of Hurricane Harvey, and now serves hospitality workers who’ve fallen on hard times. The non-profit hired a second full-time employee right before the pandemic, but COVID-19 forced the organization to grow at a rapid rate.”

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Austin 360
January 13, 2021
Aaron Franklin’s Hot Luck To Benefit Restaurant Industry Workers In Need

“Aaron has supported Southern Smoke since day one, and I’m so honored that he and the Hot Luck team chose Southern Smoke as their beneficiary,” Shepherd said. “Hot Luck is an incredible event, and now, the Hot Luck team is family. Tito’s and Yeti represent the best of Texas—always the first to support, help, and cheer on our industry in every way. Together, there’s so much we can do.”

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Block Club Chicago
January 05, 2021
Are You An Out-Of-Work Restaurant Or Bar Worker? Southern Smoke’s $4 Million Relief Fund Can Help

“Despite launching in August, Southern Smoke Foundation leaders say they still have $3.6 million to help restaurant and bar industry workers in Cook County.”

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Texas Monthly
January 01, 2021
The Best Things in Texas, 2021

“James Beard Award–winning Houston chef Chris Shepherd turned his nonprofit Southern Smoke organization into a national leader in pandemic relief, raising more than $4 million—and counting—for hard-strapped restaurant industry workers across the country.”

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Barron’s / Penta
December 30, 2020
Chef Chris Shepherd Expects Hard Winter for Restaurant Workers

“In cities like Chicago, New York, and Boston, which currently don’t allow indoor dining, the impact will be devastating.”

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Eater Chicago
December 29, 2020
This Organization Created a $4M Fund to Support Chicago’s Restaurant Workers — but $3.6M Remains Unclaimed

“People are saying this [fund] is changing their lives when they didn’t have any hope,” Grueneberg says. “If you need help, take advantage of it. Don’t feel bad you’re applying for support. Part of the awareness is to fight any guilt or stigma.”

- Sarah Grueneberg
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Zagat
December 21, 2020
Chris Shepherd On Helping Out Restaurant Workers In Houston, And Beyond

“Some days, we were awarding $150,000 a day. People were in such devastation. Fathers who couldn’t afford to take care of their kids, so they had their kids spread out and they’d be homeless. We have to fix that.”

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Thrillist
December 08, 2020
Thrillist Local Heroes 2020

“If Houston’s hospitality community had a mayor, it’d be Chris Shepherd.”

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CBS This Morning
December 01, 2020
Chef David Chang on historic "Millionaire" win for Charity

“Chef and restaurateur David Chang discusses his historic “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” win. And, what that $1 million prize will do for the Southern Smoke Foundation, which provides support for people in the food and beverage industry.”

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Food & Wine
November 30, 2020
David Chang Wins $1 Million for Southern Smoke on ‘Who Wants to Be a Millionaire’

“Chang selected the Southern Smoke Foundation, a nonprofit started by Houston-based chef Chris Shepherd, which, in recent years, has supported the hospitality industry during times of crisis and which Food & Wine has also tapped as one of our recommended avenues to help restaurants, chefs, and their staffs survive business and job losses due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.”

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Austin 360
November 10, 2020
New $4 Million Fund Supports Chicago Restaurant Workers

“They have been doing great work for years, but kicked it into high gear at a time when the industry needed it the most,” said Chicago chef Brian Jupiter, of Frontier and Ina Mae Tavern. “Since March, the Chicago hospitality industry has really come together to help and support one another in any way they can.”

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The Triibe
October 20, 2020
Southern Smoke Foundation launches $4 Million Emergency Relief Fund for Chicago restaurant workers

“This was a lift in my morale,” he says, choking back tears. “I’m not a man that takes handouts, but I’m a single dad and this was a lifesaver. I’ve worked hard for 30 years and never had to apply for public assistance of any nature.”

- Richard Jones
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Houstonia
October 01, 2020
Southern Hospitality

“Southern Smoke is really important right now for making sure people are being taken care of,” says John deBary, cofounder of the Restaurant Workers Community Foundation.”

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Southern Living
October 01, 2020
Houston Chef Chris Shepherd's Southern Smoke Has Raised $3,361,772 for Restaurant Workers in Need Right Now

“Out of these dark times, all of this positive momentum for the restaurant industry is pretty incredible. As Shepherd beautifully summed up Southern Smoke’s efforts, “We’re all in this together, and we are proud to take care of our own.””

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Eater houston
September 29, 2020
Southern Smoke Foundation Has Given Out More Than $5 Million in Donations to Restaurant Industry Workers

“In an Instagram post, the foundation shared that it had granted more than $5 million in donations and funds since its founding five years ago.”

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plate
September 28, 2020
When the Pandemic Hit, These Chefs and Restaurateurs Stepped Up to Serve

“We did not expect to be in this position,” says Shepherd, noting that there is a wait list of applicants. “But there is no end in sight.”

Houston Chronicle
September 25, 2020
Chris Shepherd’s Southern Smoke is a hero to restaurant workers hit by the pandemic

“[Caseworker Kim Jordan’s] job was to mark the cases that were most urgent, like the single mothers struggling to carry on after losing their jobs.”

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abc 7 Chicago
August 21, 2020
Houston-based foundation hopes to help local restaurant workers amid COVID-19 pandemic

“A Houston-based foundation is about to inject some much-needed hope, and a lot of money, into efforts to help support that community with not only financial grants, but also employment.”

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Barron's / Penta
June 17, 2020
Worldwise: Beloved Houston Chef Chris Shepherd On Making the Perfect Ribs, Montana Dreams, and More

“A full-fledged crisis relief organization, Southern Smoke has undoubtedly been hard at work since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, hiring 30 furloughed food and beverage professionals as case workers.”

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David Chang Show
June 15, 2020
Chris Shepherd: Using Food for Good and Safely Reopening Restaurants

“Dave is joined by Houston chef and restaurateur Chris Shepherd to discuss channeling cooking into charitable efforts and the inventive ways to ensure safety as dine-in restaurants begin to reopen across the United States.”

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Houston Business Journal
May 29, 2020
Local restaurateur's nonprofit teams up with mental health organizations to help workers statewide

“Houston restaurateur Chris Shepherd’s nonprofit, Southern Smoke, has teamed up with the University of Houston and Mental Health America of Greater Houston to provide free treatment for food and beverage workers and their children across Texas.”

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culturemap Houston
May 27, 2020
Watch how Chris Shepherd and Houston nonprofit take care of their own during COVID-19 crisis

“Now the [Emergency Relief] fund is directing its efforts — and assistance — to those affected by the coronavirus crisis. Despite being inundated with statements of need, the fund has distributed more than $1.8 million during the pandemic, delivering on its promise to “take care of our own,” as Shepherd says.”

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Houstonia
May 27, 2020
One Local Program Is Offering Free Mental Health Care for Food and Drink Workers

In a major move to further secure accessibility to health care for people working in the hospitality industry, three organizations Tuesday announced a program that will offer free mental health services for all Texas food-and-beverage employees and their children.”

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Saveur
April 15, 2020
Houston Chef Chris Shepherd Is Helping Restaurant Workers Survive the Coronavirus Crisis—But He’s Worried About His Industry After The Pandemic

“In the restaurant business, workers live week-to-week and paycheck-to-paycheck. This industry is driven by heart, passion, and drive. People in hospitality are usually the first ones who take care of everyone else in a crisis, but right now we’re hurting. How can restaurant workers and owners pay taxes, rent, and utilities with no income coming in?”

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PaperCity
April 06, 2020
Houston Chef’s Nonprofit Gives More Than $300,000 to Hurting Restaurant Workers

As of Monday [April 6, 2020], chef extraordinaire Chris Shepherd’s Southern Smoke Foundation has distributed, since the start of the pandemic, close to $314,000 to restaurant and bar professionals whose lives have been upended by COVID-19.”

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Texas Monthly
March 27, 2020
How to Help Texas Restaurant and Bar Employees During the Pandemic

“Since its inception, Southern Smoke has donated more than $1.7 million in relief funds. By the time the coronavirus has run its course, that total will be considerably greater.”

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Texas Monthly
March 27, 2020
Chris Shepherd’s Dream Is That There Will Actually Be Restaurants Left for Workers to Return To

“Somebody having to decide between staying on their medication or buying groceries doesn’t seem right to us. So that’s what we’re helping with.”

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Rolling Stone
March 24, 2020
How to Help Restaurant Workers Affected by COVID-19

“The food and beverage industry is not even paycheck-to-paycheck,” says the executive director of the Southern Smoke Foundation. “It’s shift-to-shift.”

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Bloomberg
March 21, 2020
How You Can Help Support Workers in Virus-Stricken Restaurant Industry

“Chef Chris Shepherd’s Southern Smoke Emergency Relief Fund ramped up after Hurricane Harvey, providing funds and care for Houston food-and-beverage employees in crisis. In five years, it has raised $1.6 million. In the face of the coronavirus crisis, Southern Smoke is expanding efforts to help people who have applied from out of state; in just 24 hours it received more than 900 requests.”

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Houston Chronicle
March 19, 2020
Southern Smoke Foundation lights a fire to aid food workers

“To say there was more financial need than Southern Smoke could provide was “the understatement of the century,” said executive director Kathryn Lott.”

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Robb Report
March 18, 2020
Your Favorite Bars and Restaurants Are Closing. Here’s How to Help Them Reopen.

“Houston chef Chris Shepherd’s nonprofit, Southern Smoke, fundraises year-round for food and beverage workers in crisis. Now they will channel those funds to this, prioritizing those who need help with medical bills first and foremost.”

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Heritage Radio Network
March 18, 2020
Covid Crisis and the Hospitality Response

“It’s heartbreaking to see the very establishments that nourish our bellies and souls and serve as the heart of our communities on the front lines of this crisis.”

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Eater
March 16, 2020
Houston’s Southern Smoke Foundation Gears Up to Help the Restaurant Industry During the Coronavirus Pandemic

“Crisis isn’t anything new for the Southern Smoke Foundation. Originally founded as a fundraiser to raise money for multiple sclerosis research, the organization shifted its focus to disaster relief in 2017 in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. Following the storm, Southern Smoke donated more than $500,000 to hospitality industry professionals in need, and now keeps its Emergency Relief Fund open year-round to help people in the industry pay for everything from rent to essential medications.”

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Eater
January 16, 2020
Cash Grants Provide a Lifeline for Houston’s Restaurant Community

“Originally, Shepard started the nonprofit foundation to raise funds for multiple sclerosis research after a friend was diagnosed with the disease; fundraising centered around an annual barbecue event that drew outside talent like David Chang, Ashley Christensen, and Aaron Franklin to Houston. But last year, Shepherd knew that servers, cooks, and bussers would be uniquely vulnerable in the aftermath of Harvey, and decided to donate Southern Smoke’s proceedsdirectly to service industry professionals impacted by the storm.”

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Garden & Gun
August 06, 2019
One of the Hottest Tickets in Southern Barbecue

“It’s a cause that chefs are eager to support. “Chefs say they’re asked to do festivals all the time, but only a few where they feel like they’re really doing this much good,” Shepherd says. “It’s one of the most moving, emotional, joyous days of the year.””

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Houston Chronicle
October 01, 2018
Fiery Southern Smoke event raises $425,000

“The country’s biggest names in barbecue converged in Houston Sunday, firing up a lot of smoke. And a lot of money.”

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culturemap Houston
October 23, 2017
Southern Smoke Festival serves up culinary star power, fab fare, and goodwill

“Taken together, this year’s combination of culinary star power, drinks, and entertainment establishes this year’s Southern Smoke as the best one yet.”

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Tasting Table
November 07, 2016
Why Chris Shepherd's Southern Smoke Fundraiser Is So Awesome

“Not only has Shepherd managed to rally this enviable roster of chefs and entertainment, but he’s also enlisted the help of his entire staff, and seeing the joy on everyone’s face is one of the best parts for Shepherd. “We’re a restaurant with a greater purpose,” he says.”

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Southern Living
November 01, 2016
Southerners of the Year — Chris Shepherd and the HOUBBQ Collective

“Shepherd and HOUBBQ are turning brisket into a cure.”

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