There has never been a year like this one. The Covid19 Pandemic has been brutal for the country and the world. One particular sector that has been hit particularly hard is the hospitality industry and in particular restaurants. Throughout this year The LEE Initiative (Let’s Empower Employment) led by James Beard Award Winner, author, restaurateur and chef, Edward Lee and Program Managing Director, Lindsey Ofcacek has been helping to raise money and provide food to communities around the country.
We reported on LEE’s recent collaboration with Maker’s Mark Distillery in Loretto, Kentucky to develop the Maker’s Mark CommUNITY Bourbon Release. The goal was to create a special bourbon and offer it for sale to the public with all proceeds to directly to restaurant workers across the country.
What is The CommUNITY Batch?
Together along with many other contributors they created the Maker’s Mark Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey limited-edition “CommUNITY Batch” special release. The CommUNITY batch is a blend from 37 distinguished restaurants, bars and retailers across the country that have participated in Maker’s Private Select program. They took these 37 custom bourbon recipes, carefully recreated them over a nine week period then blended them altogether to create the UNITY bottle. All funds raised will go directly to restaurant workers across the country. You can get more detail and learn the names of all the restaurants that participated here.
The CommUNITY Batch Raised Nearly $700,000
To date, The LEE Initiative has already paid out almost $4 Million dollars in direct aid programs to restaurant workers, provided over 750,000 meals, shared grants to over 60 independent farms, offered financial grants to independent restaurants, opened the McAtee Community Kitchen which is devoted to training and feeding Louisville youth, given toys for unemployed restaurant workers’ children and so much more.
The goal of the CommUNITY Batch which was release on December 1, (#GvingTuesday) was to raise about $550,000. We have great news. Donations far exceeded expectations and according to Chef Edward Lee funds raised for The CommUNITY Batch have reached nearly $700,000. You can watch Lee make the announcement in his Instagram post below.
Congratulations to The LEE Initiative, Chef Edward Lee and Director of Innovation for Maker’s Mark Jane Bowie for helping to make all this possible.