Almost four years ago, Sam Bloom went on a trip to Thailand that changed her life forever.

She loves going on adventures with her husband, Cameron, and their three boys, and this trip was no different. One morning, after a dip in the ocean, they decided to get a juice and sit on the roof deck of their hotel. Sam leaned on an unstable part of the railing and fell, landing on the tile floor 18 feet below.

Just like that, everything was different.

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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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