Samantha Bee, comedian and host of “Full Frontal” on TBS, is raising awareness for undocumented immigrants working in America’s restaurant industry by asking viewers to purchase a “thank you” t-shirt. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of each shirt benefits Giving Kitchen (GK); an Atlanta-based charity providing crisis funding and assistance for people working within the restaurant industry.
In a 30-second segment, Bee reminds viewers that “before you head out to your favorite restaurant...you wouldn’t be able to enjoy that meal without the hard work of undocumented immigrants” who she calls “the heart of the food industry.”
Bee wears the shirt with the word “thank you” written in eight languages: Arabic, Chinese, French, Portuguese, Spanish, Vietnamese, Korean, and English.
The short spot is followed by a longer segment from “Full Frontal” where Bee spoofs “Top Chef” with host Padma Lakshmi and Guy Fieri’s “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives” while speaking about the plight of undocumented restaurant workers in America. It ends with the comedian plugging the t-shirt for GK again.
GK executive director Bryan Schroeder tells Eater Atlanta Bee’s involvement with the organization and the t-shirt all went down very quickly.
“They [TBS] reached out to Amanda Newsom [GK communications manager] when they discovered how we serve people working within the restaurant industry in Atlanta,” says Schroeder. “They usually work with national non-profits, but were impressed with the work we’re doing here.”
Schroeder says the ultimate goal for GK is to be a national non-profit organization. They are currently working toward serving the entire state of Georgia by the end of 2019. He finds it “affirming”, however, that Bee and Lakshmi want to be involved in assisting restaurant workers even on a hyper-local level.
“We currently cover around 65% of Georgia’s restaurant workers. We never ask about the legal status of our grant recipients,” Schroeder says. “We are an apolitical organization which works as a uniting force in an industry which works to feed and serve every Georgian.”
The t-shirts are for sale on the official TBS shop for $29.95 and ship out on September 19. Five dollars from the sale of each t-shirt benefits Giving Kitchen.
This story was updated to reflect the comments from Giving Kitchen.