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New Initiative Employs Temp Workers While Providing Relief To Organizations Affected By COVID-19

NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) — More than 5,000 out-of-work restaurant employees have signed up for temporary work with non-profit organizations in North Texas, which have seen demand surge in the past week.

By next week, Get Shift Done will have paid out more than $400,000 to workers, while providing much-needed relief to organizations that have lost staff and volunteers due to stay home orders.

Only a week after launching, one of the founders of Get Shift Done, Anurag Jain, said they had received calls from 15 different cities interested in expanding the program.

"We see the need to put more people to work and we see the need for more non-profits to be there," he said Friday.

Jain started the effort with Patrick Brandt, originally partnering with the North Texas Food Bank.

Workers receive $10 an hour, paid from a fund created at Communities Foundation of Texas.

Jain said as much as $3 million was available so far, and should last six to eight weeks. But he expected there would be a need for additional funding as the initiative grows and the jobs crisis is extended.

Friday, the kitchen at Our Calling, which serves the homeless in Dallas, was filled with servers from restaurants like Grace in Fort Worth, Jose in Dallas and Bob's in Grapevine.

Rose Mendoza said she was grateful for the work.

"It's a little depressing to be at home," she said. "I'm a waitress too and I'm used to working a lot and I really miss it.

The assistance has been invaluable for organizations like our calling, which estimated it lost up to 40% of its staff and most volunteers.

At the same time, food availability has dropped, and demand was increasing daily, according to Our Calling founder Wayne Walker.

"Now we can take the money that we would've spent on temp employees and redirect that toward the emergency needs like food, and toilet paper and gloves," he said.

Our Calling was projecting food costs alone could increase by as much as $200,000 through the end of August.

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