Relief for employees of First Slice Pie Café

Hi, my name is Mac and I’m writing this on behalf of the hard-working cooks and baristas at all three locations of First Slice Pie Café.

As you're probably aware, the COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on the livelihoods of workers far and wide. People whose work is necessary to keep us safe and healthy—nurses, grocery store cashiers, garbage collectors—are bravely risking their health daily, and many people not deemed essential are forced to choose: stay home & healthy, or pay our rent?

Many locally owned restaurants, bars, and cafés can’t easily dole out paid time off in the best of times, and these are the worst. The food industry has ground to a devastating halt as our customers take refuge in their homes. Even for workers who aren’t afraid to stay at work and potentially contract the virus, there are many stressors—moral, financial, and emotional—that make this time incredibly difficult. The decrease in tips (a huge chunk of our income), the pain of seeing our regulars in crisis, and the fear of potentially becoming a carrier and spreading the virus to someone to whom it could potentially be fatal—these things come to mind.

As you might know, First Slice isn’t just a quaint little spot to indulge in a slice of pie. We also proudly serve tens of thousands of hot meals crafted with love to people without homes here in Chicago every year. We share a strong belief that food has great power to connect people—to each other, to themselves, to their pasts, to their presents. People need that connection now more than ever, which is why First Slice is staying open as long as we can.

On the flip side of our determination to continue supporting the community through this time of fear and uncertainty, there is a hard question this crisis is now demanding we ask: how do we best care for those less fortunate while also caring for our own? To help us answer it, we’re turning our hopes to you, the community that has helped us sustain and grow for so many years.

For the First Slice employees who can’t work during this time—those caring for family, waiting out the closure of our Lillstreet Art Center location, sheltering due to compromised immune systems, staying at home with symptoms to protect the community—we hope you’ll consider donating what you can. If you can’t, sharing this page helps us immensely, too. All donations will be split equally between the baristas and cooks who can’t work or whose hours have been cut. We appreciate your generosity and support, and we hope you’re staying safe and well.

Organizer and beneficiary

Mac Popetz
Chicago, IL
Samuel Weiss

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