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Falcons Quarterback Matt Ryan Steps Up to Help Atlanta’s Restaurant Workers

The Atlanta Falcons quarterback donates $100,000 to Giving Kitchen and Atlanta Community Food Bank as COVID-19 forces restaurants to close

Atlanta Falcons v Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Atlanta Falcon QB Matt Ryan
Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images
Beth McKibben is the editor and staff reporter for Eater Atlanta and has been covering food and cocktails locally and regionally for 12 years.

Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan plans to donate $100,000 to the Atlanta Community Food Bank and Giving Kitchen to assist those in need, including area restaurant workers facing financial hardships, ESPN reports. The vast majority of Atlanta and metro area restaurants ceased dine-in service this week and either closed temporarily or opted to offer takeout and delivery services in order to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

The donation is being distributed equally between the two Atlanta nonprofits, which respectively provide food to people in need or crisis grants to restaurant and bar industry workers.

“Obviously there’s a ton of stuff going on right now with a lot of areas that need a lot of help, and we certainly have a lot of friends in the restaurant and food industry here in Atlanta,” Ryan tells ESPN.

He calls Giving Kitchen “a unique and cool organization” for its efforts in providing emergency relief services and funding to individuals and families within the restaurant industry who face sudden financial hardships or a health crisis.

Last year, Giving Kitchen was awarded the 2019 Humanitarian of the Year Award by the James Beard Foundation. The honor is presented to restaurant organizations or individuals working to benefit the restaurant community.

“These places [restaurants/bars] aren’t getting their typical income, so hopefully this helps [the workers] get through a little bit of a difficult time,” Ryan explains of his donation, which he hopes affords some people the ability to “cover their bases” and access meals.

On Monday evening, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms enacted a ban on public gatherings of 50 or more people, including at restaurants and bars, in order to promote social distancing and slow the spread of COVID-19. The move is in keeping with the latest guidance provided by the CDC.

The city of Brookhaven, just north of Atlanta, declared a state of emergency and suspended dine-in service at restaurants and bars until March 30. Delivery and takeout is allowed for restaurants with proper permitting.

NOTE: The novel coronavirus situation in Georgia is fluid and ongoing. Follow Eater Atlanta for continuing coverage on COVID-19’s impact on Atlanta’s restaurant industry. Additional stories are forthcoming.

Check the Georgia Department of Public Health website for further guidance and updates on COVID-19.