A campaign started by workers in Chicago’s food and beverage sector to raise money and items like clothing, toiletries, and other personal goods for domestic violence shelters continues through Thursday. The organizers, the same folks behind May’s domestic violence fundraiser (which generated more than $18,000), now want to increase the number of beds for domestic violence survivors at shelters. The effort carries on as Chicago’s City Council considers a proposal to raise the sub-minimum wage for tipped workers, something supporters of the measure say would make restaurant employees less vulnerable to workplace abuse.
Donation drive organizer Daniella Caruso has brought together 19 restaurants and bars to serve as drop-off points for items domestic violence survivors need. See a full list of needed items here. They’ll donate the items to Connections for Abused Women and their Children (CAWC), the group Caruso partnered with in the spring for the Chicago Industry Night For Domestic Violence fundraiser. Restaurants participating in the donation drive include Bayan Ko in Ravenswood, both Parsons Chicken & Fish locations Logan Square and Lincoln Park, and Longman & Eagle in Logan Square. The restaurants will serve as drop-off points until the end of the month, which is Thursday. For a full map, click here. Customers can also leave money donations. Folks can also visit CAWC’s Amazon wishlist to buy items for donation.
It’s thrilling to meet other restaurant industry members who are interested in curbing domestic violence, Caruso said. Sharing educational materials and making friends make the campaign worthwhile.
CAWC’s Executive Director Stephanie Love-Patterson said that Chicago does not have enough beds for domestic violence victims in shelters. About one-third of women in America say they’ve experienced domestic violence. Three million people live in Chicago, and shelters and other centers have only 150 total beds reserved for domestic violence victims. That math doesn’t add up for Caruso, who said the big stumbling block is a lack of shelters and no money to build new ones. Caruso made buttons with “150” for servers to wear to call awareness to the shortage.
Houndstooth Saloon in Wrigleyville is holding a fundraiser on Tuesday night and donating 10 percent of the day’s sales to CAWC. Owner TJ Callanta is a restaurant veteran who managed Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises’s Summer House Santa Monica in Lincoln Park before last year taking over Houndstooth. He’s seen domestic violence affect friends and family. Particularly, he wants men to be more accountable and to take a proactive role. Silence feeds into the culture, he said.
“We’re always taught at a very young age to not show your emotion,” Callanta said. “You don’t really talk about the issue at hand.”
The industry needs to end the days of chefs throwing plates and yelling at kitchen staff. That type of abuse just opens the door to other forms, Callanta added.
Lorraine Nguyen, a sous chef at Cherry Circle Room in the Loop, has seen her restaurant participate in the campaign. Nguyen talked about how it’s difficult to speak out against abuse when it could cost someone their job. A former Lettuce Entertain You worker accused the company of firing her for coming forward with allegations, for example. She filed a lawsuit earlier in October.
Some restaurant owners are afraid of ruining their customers’s comfort with flyers that support political causes. Domestic violence isn’t a political matter, Nguyen pointed out, adding that restaurants can also be places that bring people together with a common cause.
“I think that restaurants have more responsibilities to communities than we would like to admit,” Nguyen said.
Read the full list of participants below.
- Bayan Ko
- Longman & Eagle
- Lonesome Rose
- Parson’s Chicken & Fish (Logan Square)
- Parson’s Chicken & Fish (Lincoln Park)
- Lost Lake
- Cherry Circle Room
- The Hideout
- Maplewood Brewery & Distillery
- Volo Restaurant Wine Bar
- Table, Donkey and Stick
- Queen Mary
- Houndstooth Saloon
- Spilt Milk
- Bite Cafe