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Johnson & Johnson

Dr. Michael Ohene-Yeboah can still recall the seemingly mysterious ailment that afflicted so many people in his Ghanaian village.

He'd often see the local Catholic priest as he ran around trying to treat those who'd fallen victim to this strange abdominal sickness.

He remembers the howls of pain, how the protrusions in their bodies swelled to the point where they could no longer work, and how, all the while, herbalists and other healers warned them that surgery was too expensive and wouldn't help them even if they could afford it.

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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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