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Houston’s Southern Smoke Foundation Has Distributed More Than $600K to Service Industry Workers

The funds have been disbursed to more than 300 people impacted by the coronavirus pandemic

Chris Shepherd
Southern Smoke/Facebook
Amy McCarthy is a staff writer at, focusing on pop culture, policy and labor, and only the weirdest online trends.

Since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, Houston’s own Southern Smoke Foundation has already issued grants totaling more than $600,000 to service industry professionals in need across the country.

Southern Smoke co-founder Chris Shepherd announced the updated grant total over the weekend, noting that $607,000 has been granted to 312 people over the past few weeks. Back in March, Southern Smoke executive director Kathryn Lott told Eater that the organization was gearing up for an unprecedented number of applications for aid from laid-off service industry workers, all while continuing the usual work the organization does in providing relief to workers impacted by major financial crises.

“We will keep going,” Shepherd wrote on Instagram. “If you have a little, donate. If you are in crisis, apply. We will continue to get through this together.

The organization has received a number of major donations over the past few weeks to assist in this work, including more than $1 million from the Restaurant Workers Community Foundation and $50,000 from the Houston Texans Foundation. Austin-based Tito’s Vodka also selected the charity as one of four organizations to split a $1 million donation back in March.

The Southern Smoke Foundation is currently accepting applications from service industry workers impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.