Episode Summary

When unexpected medical crises arise, restaurant workers have limited financial options and resources. That’s where CORE — Children of Restaurant Employees — comes in. 

CORE helps restaurant employees with children by providing financial support, through grants, when they face a medical crisis, death, or natural disaster.

In this episode of the Restaurants Reinvented podcast, our host Jen Kern introduces Sheila Bennett, the Executive Director of CORE. They talk about CORE’s phenomenal support program for restaurant workers, the eligibility criteria, and most importantly, how to spread the word about this fantastic organization. 

With only 1 in 4 restaurant workers able to pay a medical bill over $400, and a thinning labor workforce, CORE is filling a very valuable role.


Name: Sheila Bennett, Executive Director, CORE
🍽 What she does: Sheila is the Executive Director at CORE
🍽 Where to find Sheila: LinkedIn

Key Insights

🌶️ CORE – Serves employees in the restaurant industry who have children

One in four restaurant workers struggles to pay a medical bill over $400. That’s where CORE comes to the rescue. Sheila explains, “That’s what CORE does — we will cover rent and mortgage, utilities, and out-of-pocket medical costs, such as prescriptions, therapies, and equipment. 

We may also cover funds for basic necessities, putting groceries on the table, diapers, formula, and other items like that. We’re also there when someone faces a natural disaster, hurricanes, fires, floods, or tornadoes. And in those situations, if you’ve lost your income or if you’ve lost your home and maybe the contents inside, you’ve just got to be able to buy a toothbrush and toothpaste.”

🌶️ Who is eligible for CORE’s support program?

When there’s a health emergency in your family, the last thing you want to stress about is work. CORE supports restaurant employees in such situations. Sheila explains their criteria, “Number one, you must be employed in any kind of food service or beverage service operation. […] Then, number two, you must have a legally dependent child. And number three, you must have a qualifying circumstance which would be medical illness or diagnosis, an injury that would keep you from work, death of the employee’s spouse or child, or loss of home or place of work due to a natural disaster. And here’s another one that we don’t talk about as much — and we don’t really talk about the stories because of confidentiality — documented domestic abuse.”

🌶️ How can you support CORE?

“Number one, if you want to be a volunteer, go onto our website, and on the top menu bar, there is a ‘Ways to get involved’ link and you can sign up to be an ambassador. An ambassador is someone who also leverages their voice for CORE to get the word out through social media. Through your network, you can help us find partners, engage your company, and also be part of our Summer of Hope campaign and our boots on the ground.”

Episode Highlights

The origin of CORE

“CORE was founded, or the concept of CORE was developed in 2004 when some friends who worked in the restaurant industry met for cocktails during a restaurant show in Chicago in 2004, […] and they were talking about the times people came to them asking for money to support these amazing organizations and causes, but then they were curious to find out, ‘Well, is there a cause out there that supports the working employees — the workforce in our industry?’ And they couldn’t think of anything. So they said, ‘Well, let’s create it!'”

Let’s get the word out about CORE

If you know someone working in the restaurant industry, feel free to spread the word. Sheila says, “We’ve got some tools on our website and at the bottom of the page is a link that says ‘Communication Resources.’ And there, you can download items like our core back-of-the-house post, print it, and take it to restaurants in your neighborhood to help us get the word out.

CORE is a direct provider

Here’s how CORE helps families in need. Sheila says, “75 cents of every dollar that you donate goes directly to a family. We’re a direct provider. We’re actually putting money in their hands. We’re paying bills directly. We also have a process that is vetted to make sure that we are transparent. 

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Support CORE

Join Qu + CORE in our Spring Fundraiser supporting children & restaurant workers with medical crises.

Only 1 in 4 restaurant employees can afford to pay a $400 medical bill!
CORE was created to change that equation by providing financial relief to restaurant workers and their families facing severe medical issues, death, and natural disaster.

Spread the word & Donate today!
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