The St. Augustine Independent Restaurant Association announced to Historic City News today, the launch of the SAiRA Foundation — a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting hospitality industry workers in St. Augustine in times of extreme need.
Ticehurst reported that the foundation will help provide support when workers need it to get them and their family back on their feet. Over a dozen locally-owned and managed St. Augustine restaurants make up the membership of SAiRA. Together, the restaurants employ over 500 hospitality workers in the community.
“Hospitality workers are the backbone of our local and tourist-based community,” said Jeremy Ticehurst, President of the SAiRA Foundation. “They’re also susceptible to upheavals in their lives due to storms, illnesses, or other misfortunes.”
Initial funding for the SAiRA Foundation will come from association members. Throughout the year, the SAiRA Foundation will host community events and fundraisers. Anyone interested in donating to the foundation can visit SAiRAFoundation.com.
“Our restaurants consider employees to be part of a huge family, and families take care of each other. When two hurricanes hit our area within a year, we personally saw the impact catastrophes can have on our employees.” said Ticehurst. “Many were displaced. Belongings were lost. There was loss of income. We saw a need and decided to create the foundation.”
In addition to supporting workers in need, the SAiRA Foundation will also promote hospitality education. Activities will include hospitality training within the service industry in St. Augustine. Ticehurst said that he believes that a well-trained workforce will have a positive impact on the tourist-based community.
Formed in 2008, SAiRA members build relationships through sharing of information and supporting local independent restaurants. Members work side by side to help each other exceed the expectations of guests and advance St. Augustine’s unique culinary and cultural diversity.
For more information about St. Augustine Independent Restaurant Association call Bridget L. Van Landingham, at (904) 429-4588 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.