ATLANTA, Ga. (CBS46) - For many of the state's hospitality workers, buying the basics is tough. According to the Georgia Hotel & Lodging Association (GHLA), roughly 90% of Georgia's service workers are furloughed or laid off due to the coronavirus pandemic.

GHLA and the Atlanta Community Food Bank are hosting weekly pop-up pantries to help fill that gap.

GHLA executive director Jim Sprouse, said its important for industry workers to have a support system.

“We want to provide a sense of relief and serve the people who normally serve us by sharing critical food supplies, smiles through our masks and messages of hope,” Sprouse said. “We want our workers to know that we are here for them, we support them and we will get through this together."

Every Tuesday through the end of May, the pantry will move throughout metro Atlanta to accomodate as many workers as possible.

The first pantry kicked off April 14, at the Crowne Plaza Ravinia where volunteers from Gas South greeted workers with handmade signs and words of encouragment.

Each pantry provides 30 pounds of groceries to roughly 250 affected workers.

The pantry is funded by a $200,000 donation from Gas South, which provides natural gas throughout the southeastern region.

“Hope is the fuel that sustains us through uncertain times,” said Kevin Greiner, Gas South president and CEO. “Hotel workers are often the ones smiling through the bad days, cheering up guests and spreading positivity. It is our turn to reciprocate the warmth and kindness of the hospitality industry by sharing our messages of hope and donating funds to provide food for them and their families.”

The GHLA coordinates directly with metro Atlanta hotels to identify workers in need and provide them with pantry times and locations.

"Our hearts have been warmed by the acts of kindness seen throughout the community and the generosity of companies like Gas South," Sprouse said.

For more information about COVID-19 resources for Georgia’s hospitality industry, click here.

Copyright 2020 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.


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