ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) -- A line of cars as far as the eye could see wrapped around the Boathouse in Forest Park Sunday morning, as people anxiously awaited a fundraiser designed at helping those in the service industry.
It has been 10 days since bars and restaurants in Missouri were forced to close their dining areas. For some, that meant resorting to a carry-out business. For others, it meant shutting the doors. Thousands of hourly service industry workers have lost their jobs as a result.
Charles Dubuque, President of Dubuque Coffee, said his business is feeling the effects of the closures of other restaurants, bars and hotels.
"About 80 percent of our customers have closed," he said. "Our restaurants, our private clubs, our hotels our resorts, so a significant portion of our revenue has been affected."
Dubuque said as of Sunday, he's been able to maintain his entire staff, avoiding layoffs.
"It’s a challenge, I won’t lie to you, it’s a challenge," he said. "But we’ve been able to maintain our staff."
It's one of the reasons he wanted to take part in Sunday's "Pay-What-You-Can" fundraiser put on by several local restaurants and businesses including Sugarfire Smoke House, Mission Taco, Dubuque Coffee, Strange Donuts and Hi-Pointe.
"I think this community, the St. Louis community, is just so charitable and they really understand how the restaurant industry has been affected, and what I’m seeing is people want to do whatever they can to support the places they frequent," he said.
Staff took orders and handed out food to customers who waited in their cars, offering options for both breakfast and lunch. In exchange, donations were encouraged. The money will go toward the Gateway Resiliency Fund, designed to aid local service industry workers who've lost their jobs as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
"I think as someone who makes an income and I haven’t lost my job yet, it’s my social responsibility to come out and support our businesses," one customer said. "I was born and raised here so I always want to support our businesses"