Hops N Shine Joins ‘Hook Hall Helps’ Which Feeds Unemployed Restaurant and Hospitality Workers

Hook Hall Helps, the relief project which has provided thousands of meals and supply bags to hospitality industry workers since March, 2020, has added a new Northern Virginia distribution location.

Anna Valero, Hook Hall helps founder; Nick Freshman, owner, The Freshman; Tracy Sayegh Gabriel, president-CEO, National Landing BID. (Photo: Hook Hall Helps)

Alexandria, VA – “Last week I made 135 meals for Hook Hall Helps” said C.J. Cross, chef and owner at Hops N Shine restaurant located at 3410 Mt Vernon Avenue in Alexandria. “There’s so many great people who work in restaurants and they need our help. I was excited to be able to support my fellow restaurant industry folks.”

Hook Hall Helps, the relief project which has provided thousands of meals and supply bags to hospitality industry workers since March, 2020, has added a new Northern Virginia distribution location according to Anna Valero, founder of the effort. Family meals from a rotating list of restaurants and supplies are now distributed from 3 until 5 pm every Thursday from The Freshman, at 2011 Crystal Drive in Arlington’s Amazon’s HQ2 development in National Landing. Nick Freshman, owner of the all-day coffee, cocktail and dining spot, is donating his space which was unable to open last spring because of COVID-19 restrictions.

The Hook Hall Helps project began last spring when DC restaurants were shuttered. Working in partnership with the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington, Hook Hall Helps provided more than 10,000 meals from March until June and has raised more than $750,000 in donations to keep the program going. The project restarted in December as DC restaurants were, again, closing because of capacity restrictions and mandatory shutdowns.

C.J. Cross, owner, Hops N Shine; Nick Freshman, owner The Freshman; Stephanie Mirrow volunteer; Rebecca Orens, volunteer. (Photo: Hops N Shine)

According to Valero, “Through Hook Hall Helps, area hospitality workers receive meals and supplies provided through the generous support of the greater Washington, DC community. To support local restaurants, we compensate kitchens that provide the meals. It is a way for all of us to stay connected and give back during these difficult times.” Valero noted that the project serves the industry in two ways: providing meals to out of work staffs and enabling restaurateurs to keep their kitchen staffs employed. “It is through the generosity of Nick Freshman that we are able to extend these services to our industry colleagues in Northern Virginia,” she said.

“Anna has done an incredible job addressing such a critical need in our hospitality community and I’m happy to be able to help her efforts.” said Freshman, “This certainly isn’t how I imagined opening the doors of The Freshman, but I think our location and it’s accessibility will allow us to help a lot of Northern Virginia families.”

Supply bags containing snacks, toiletries and toilet paper are given to every hospitality industry worker along with three family-style meals. (Photo: Hook Hall Helps)

Among the list of local restaurants participating in the project is Alexandria’s Hops N Shine which provided meals for the first time on Thursday Feb 18. “If given the opportunity I would most definitely do it again, and I can’t wait until vaccines are made available to restaurant workers so that more folks will feel safe both going back to work and patrons feel safe dining in.”

Restaurants may sign up to create meals at www.hookhall.com/meals. Restaurants will be compensated for the meals they provide.

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