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Busy season for CDAIDE

by DEVIN WEEKS
Staff Writer | December 8, 2020 1:00 AM

In the days leading up to Thanksgiving, CDAIDE received 23 referrals from area hospitality and food service establishments to help employees.

"Hospitality workers were busy this summer, which is great, because the spring was obviously really hard,” said Rebecca Smith, CDAIDE board chair. "Now that winter's coming and things are slowing down, we’re seeing higher infection rates in the community and people need help."

The nonprofit provides a safety net for people who work in restaurant and hospitality jobs by connecting them with resources when they're in a bind with a car repair or medical emergency. COVID-19 has exacerbated things for many by sending workers home to quarantine.

"When you unexpectedly lose two weeks of income, that’s significant," Smith said. "We’re helping people out with rent when they are quarantined, or who have to stay home when a child is quarantined. We want people to stay home if they're sick. That’s not easy to do when they're facing two weeks without income."

CDAIDE received $50,000 in a Community Development Block Grant from the city of Coeur d'Alene to help get through the winter, as well as an $8,000 grant from United Way of North Idaho to support the work of care coordinators who assign volunteers to meet with care recipients.

A postcard went out to local bars, hotels and restaurants, and CDAIDE followed up to make sure establishments were aware of CDAIDE. The response was resounding.

"We've had referrals from all over town," communication chair Bev Moss said. "Employers are really trying to get help for their employees and those phone calls gave them some hope."

Comfort Inn and Suites and MainStay Suites in Coeur d'Alene reached out to CDAIDE. General manager Bronwynn Blackmon said this year, because of COVID, the hospitality industry has been hit hard with furloughs.

"With that, CDAIDE coming in and supporting the community in hospitality has been a significant need this year," she said. "That's hospitality nationwide. We've had a really strange year."

CDAIDE is running a Care Cash promotion right now to encourage diners and guests to leave an extra, unexpected $20 with servers and hospitality workers. Envelopes can be picked up at Evans Bros. Coffee, 504 E. Sherman Ave., Coeur d'Alene.

Smith said this is a great project for an office, church group or book club "to bless all employees at an establishment by working together."

"It's an easy way to give back this time of year when people are really in need," she said.