In early February, The Local Crowd Monadnock, Culinary Journeys, and Food Connects partnered to launch the Monadnock Restaurant Project, a homegrown stimulus program to help give the local restaurant economy the shot in the arm it needs to get through this winter.
According to the National Restaurant Association, more than 69,500 individuals worked in restaurant and foodservice jobs in New Hampshire before the pandemic—representing 10% of the state’s total employment. However, more than 200 NH restaurants have permanently closed since last March. The Monadnock Restaurant Project looks to inspire community support for local restaurant owners and their employees to keep these businesses open, and their staff retained.
In one month, the project dispersed over 600 gift cards from 25 local restaurants to employers, including C&S Wholesale Grocers, Nanotech, and Savings Bank of Walpole. These businesses shared these gift cards with their staff and asked them to spend the cards quickly, providing an immediate shot in the arm to Keene's local economy this winter. The Keene Sentinel and Monadnock Broadcasting Group also distributed gift cards to community members through contests and giveaways.
Organizers are fundraising for the project through The Local Crowd Monadnock's community-based crowdfunding program. Currently, they have raised 82% of their overall goal of $30,000. Culinary Journey's contributed $10,000 to start this project, and eighty-two community supporters have donated an additional $14,500. This crowdfunding campaign continues through March.
Support The Monadnock Restaurant Project
The funds raised will be used to purchase a second round of gift cards from local restaurants and food businesses in the Keene area, businesses not included in phase one of the project.
The project also aspires to inspire others to pay it forward to support the local restaurant economy. Businesses such as The Richards Group, Historical Society of Cheshire County, and Northern Lights Cheerleading have launched their own efforts to support the Monadnock Restaurant Project movement.
“These cards are not gifts but a call to action,” said Luca Paris, owner of Luca's Mediterranean Café. “We anticipate that community members will spend at least twice the amount of what their gift card is worth, doubling the project’s impact by infusing $60,000 to these cash-strapped businesses. The more we spend locally, the more dollars we reinvest in our local economy!”
Learn more about the Monadnock Restaurant Project
The Local Crowd Monadnock - Mailing Address: 63 Emerald St. #114, Keene, NH 03431