Celebrity chef Guy Fieri said he decided to join Barstool’s “genius idea” to help struggling small businesses amid the coronavirus pandemic because those businesses “keep everybody going.”
The Food Network star pointed out that “when you start looking at them [small businesses] falling off, they don’t have the finances to make it through a month or two months and if they did, that’s gone by now.”
Fieri, who helped raise about $22 million for restaurant workers through the Restaurant Employee Relief Fund, which he launched in March with the help of the National Restaurant Association Education Foundation, made the comments on “Fox & Friends” on Tuesday.
Fieri noted that the Barstool team and Dave Portnoy, who founded the media company Barstool Sports, are “just rocking it” and are “taking care of a lot of folks.”
“What we did at the beginning was getting money directly to the employees, they’re the ones that needed it at that time,” Fieri said regarding his fundraising efforts.
“Dave’s seeing the next level of this and that is these small businesses that were successful in doing good and operating and taking care of their community, when this [pandemic] has hit, the second, third round of COVID, they need some support.”
He pointed out that Portnoy’s effort is “not just a one-time pay,” but rather “a program where once the Barstool Fund gets involved, they continue to support this business and help them get back on their feet.”
As of Tuesday morning, “The Barstool Fund” has raised more than $18.3 million from nearly 144,000 supporters for 75 small business owners struggling during the pandemic.
Portnoy started the fundraising effort last month along with the nonprofit 30 Day Fund, aiming to assist small businesses impacted by COVID-19. He contributed $500,000 of his own money toward the effort.
Portnoy introduced the fund in a Dec. 17 tweet, saying businesses could submit stories to [email protected] to be considered for the fund.
Fieri pointed out that the response has been “amazing” with some “big names,” including Tom Brady, Dana White and Kid Rock, donating to the cause.
“You got a lot of people getting in on this and recognizing that small business is the fabric of our community,” Fieri said.