When Corey Patrick boarded the bus in his graduation gown, he didn't expect to go viral. He just wanted to graduate with his friends.

Patrick had attended school in Tarrant, Alabama, since the fourth grade. So when his family moved far away from his high school he decided that he was going to do whatever it took to stay with his classmates. For him, that meant getting up at 4:30 a.m. every morning so he could catch the bus at 5:41 a.m. It was a trip he took every morning this school year.

He found himself on that same bus the morning of his graduation.

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Courtesy of Chef El-Amin
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When non-essential businesses in NYC were ordered to close in March, restaurants across the five boroughs were tasked to pivot fast or risk shuttering their doors for good.

The impact on the city's once vibrant restaurant scene was immediate and devastating. A national survey found that 250,000 people were laid off within 22 days and almost $2 billion in revenue was lost. And soon, numerous restaurant closures became permanent as the pandemic raged on and businesses were unable to keep up with rent and utility payments.

Hot Bread Kitchen, a New York City-based nonprofit and incubator that has assisted more than 275 local businesses in the food industry, knew they needed to support their affiliated restaurants in a new light to navigate the financial complexities of shifting business models and applying for loans.

According to Hot Bread Kitchen's CEO Shaolee Sen, shortly after the shutdown began, a third of restaurant workers that they support had been laid off and another third were furloughed.

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