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Heroes

Claudia Worked A Full Night's Shift — Then Instead Of Getting Paid, She Had To Pay

You've probably eaten at a restaurant before. You might even be doing it right now. Maybe take a second to look around you?

Think about the phrases "eating sustainably" or "eating ethically." Is something like this what comes to mind?

Lately there's been a lot of talk about — and a lot of money spent on — eating food that's fresh, locally produced, sustainably grown, humane, etc. And while it's terrific that we're paying so much attention to the impact our food has on the environment and on ourselves, there's one key element that's been left out of most of these conversations.


Her.

I'm pretty sure Claudia and her working conditions aren't what popped into your head, right?

It's no coincidence that Claudia and her wages don't come to mind. A lot of restaurants probably don't want us to know that we're paying their workers' wages. Wait, what?

Yep, the minimum wage for tipped workers in this country is only $2.13 an hour. But even with tips, female tipped workers make a median wage of only $8 an hour. And on top of that, many restaurants also mistreat their employees, for example by requiring them to report higher tips than they actually earned or making them work off the clock.

Take Claudia, for example.

"And one night, Claudia worked a full night's shift at the IHOP at Houston, Texas, and earned some money in tips, but at the end of the night, a couple walked out without paying the bill. And the manager said to her, even though it is illegal and even though IHOP is a mega corporation, 'You're going to be held responsible for that bill.' And so Claudia ended up paying $20 because that bill was $20 more than everything she had earned that entire night in tips — for the luxury of having worked a full night's shift at the IHOP in Houston, Texas. And again, I cannot tell you how many thousands of times I have heard that same story."

Most tipped workers also don't get benefits like paid sick leave.

I'll say that again: Most tipped workers don't get benefits like paid sick leave. If they're living paycheck to paycheck, they often can't afford to take unpaid time off. A lot of the people who touch our food only get paid if they go to work, sick or not.

How about a side of H1N1 with those waffles?

And don't even get me started on the treatment of female restaurant workers.

"The restaurant industry has the highest rates of sexual harassment of any industry in the United States."

It also happens to be the industry in which many young women get their start in the working world.

The images above are fictional, but the stories aren't.

Saru Jayaraman outlines in her talk the hundreds of stories she's heard just like these from restaurant workers across the country. But the good thing is, she also offers real solutions, including things (easy things!) each one of us can do to help fix this every time we eat out. So that we really and truly can say we're eating sustainably.

Watch the whole talk here:

All images provided by Bombas

We can all be part of the giving movement

True

We all know that small acts of kindness can turn into something big, but does that apply to something as small as a pair of socks?

Yes, it turns out. More than you might think.

A fresh pair of socks is a simple comfort easily taken for granted for most, but for individuals experiencing homelessness—they are a rare commodity. Currently, more than 500,000 people in the U.S. are experiencing homelessness on any given night. Being unstably housed—whether that’s couch surfing, living on the streets, or somewhere in between—often means rarely taking your shoes off, walking for most if not all of the day, and having little access to laundry facilities. And since shelters are not able to provide pre-worn socks due to hygienic reasons, that very basic need is still not met, even if some help is provided. That’s why socks are the #1 most requested clothing item in shelters.

homelessness, bombasSocks are a simple comfort not everyone has access to

When the founders of Bombas, Dave Heath and Randy Goldberg, discovered this problem, they decided to be part of the solution. Using a One Purchased = One Donated business model, Bombas helps provide not only durable, high-quality socks, but also t-shirts and underwear (the top three most requested clothing items in shelters) to those in need nationwide. These meticulously designed donation products include added features intended to offer comfort, quality, and dignity to those experiencing homelessness.

Over the years, Bombas' mission has grown into an enormous movement, with more than 75 million items donated to date and a focus on providing support and visibility to the organizations and people that empower these donations. These are the incredible individuals who are doing the hard work to support those experiencing —or at risk of—homelessness in their communities every day.

Folks like Shirley Raines, creator of Beauty 2 The Streetz. Every Saturday, Raines and her team help those experiencing homelessness on Skid Row in Los Angeles “feel human” with free makeovers, haircuts, food, gift bags and (thanks to Bombas) fresh socks. 500 pairs, every week.

beauty 2 the streetz, skid row laRaines is out there helping people feel their beautiful best

Or Director of Step Forward David Pinson in Cincinnati, Ohio, who offers Bombas donations to those trying to recover from addiction. Launched in 2009, the Step Forward program encourages participation in community walking/running events in order to build confidence and discipline—two major keys to successful rehabilitation. For each marathon, runners are outfitted with special shirts, shoes—and yes, socks—to help make their goals more achievable.

step forward, helping homelessness, homeless non profitsRunning helps instill a sense of confidence and discipline—two key components of successful recovery

Help even reaches the Front Street Clinic of Juneau, Alaska, where Casey Ploof, APRN, and David Norris, RN give out free healthcare to those experiencing homelessness. Because it rains nearly 200 days a year there, it can be very common for people to get trench foot—a very serious condition that, when left untreated, can require amputation. Casey and Dave can help treat trench foot, but without fresh, clean socks, the condition returns. Luckily, their supply is abundant thanks to Bombas. As Casey shared, “people will walk across town and then walk from the valley just to come here to get more socks.”

step forward clinic, step forward alaska, homelessness alaskaWelcome to wild, beautiful and wet Alaska!

The Bombas Impact Report provides details on Bombas’s mission and is full of similar inspiring stories that show how the biggest acts of kindness can come from even the smallest packages. Since its inception in 2013, the company has built a network of over 3,500 Giving Partners in all 50 states, including shelters, nonprofits and community organizations dedicated to supporting our neighbors who are experiencing- or at risk- of homelessness.

Their success has proven that, yes, a simple pair of socks can be a helping hand, an important conversation starter and a link to humanity.

You can also be a part of the solution. Learn more and find the complete Bombas Impact Report by clicking here.

via UNSW

This article originally appeared on 07.10.21


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