The restaurant and hospitality industry is the largest in the country by a magnitude of 2x and is growing faster than any other. Yet – in addition to many truly amazing people – this one industry is the catch basin in our nation for all of our most vulnerable demographics… single parents, at-risk teens, immigrants, and ex-felons trying to turn life around. This concentration is the result of some very good news… anyone willing to work can get a job. But put so many at risk together under one roof and it is not rocket science that this is the industry with the highest rates of those struggling with alcohol and drug addiction, massive divorce and broken relationship rates, redline stress levels, job instability, rapid turnover, and almost no safety net.
Yet because this is the HOSPITALITY industry and they have smiles on their faces to greet the rest of us, this stunning level of need is rarely noticed.
43% of those in the industry fall below the “survival” income line set by economists and those below the official poverty line are literally DOUBLE that of any other working population
LEVELS OF ADDICTION
More in this industry struggle with drug and alcohol addiction than any other measured group
LIMITED SAFETY NET
Even with the changes in health care policy, the safety net is almost non-existent for those in the industry and many work sick and or injury just to keep some money coming in
our care model
A PERSONAL REFERRAL
Unlike virtually every other aid organization, those in need do not ask for help themselves (the “hotline” model). Instead Big Table builds a network of care of managers, owners, and employees across the industry and when they see someone in crisis, they submit a personal referral.
This simple referral process both strengthens existing community and provides real accountability, virtually eliminating requests from those only interested in gaming the system.
IMMEDIATE CRISIS CARE
We respond directly and personally – seeking to meet an immediate crisis need as quickly as possible with the goal of keeping a family or individual from falling off the ledge.
We partner with the best resource providers in the community when a need can be best met collaboratively. These include doctors, dentists, therapists, auto mechanics, and lawyers.
Yet where we see lives truly change is when we are able to shift from triage care to invest in longer term coaching and mentoring with a care recipient along eight “trajectories of transformation” from crisis to health and stability. Once the crisis is past, we continue to walk alongside individuals – offering accountability and encouragement. Time and time again, care recipients say it is this ongoing relationship that gave them hope and direction.
the “big table”
There is an actual big table. It seats 48 people. We host amazing six and seven course chef dinners several times a year. But what makes these dinners truly special is the guest list — those invited work in the industry. Every other day they serve the rest of us. But for one night the tables are turned and we serve them. The community created at these meals leads directly into the care and coaching we do day in and day out to impact those in crisis.
stories of impact
Behind the Smiles
An overview of Big Table care for the working poor that highlights several Seattle stories.
Power of Presence
Big Table Eats Around the World video. A video of Big table care and the struggles associated with working in a restaurant or hotel.
Impact & Hope
Stories of the targeted impact and long term hope that comes out of Big Table care.