Maine Hospitality Workers Resource Guide

The lives of workers in the Maine restaurant industry have been especially hard hit by the Corona virus pandemic.

Caroline Richter, the bar manager at Leeward, has put together this helpful set of resources for her peers and has been good enough to allow me to share it here so it can reach more of the people who need it.


  • Maine UnemploymentApply here. F.A.Q. information is NOT up to date. Waiting periods have been waived, and you do not need to actively look for work if your reason for applying is covid-19.
  • Another Round Another Rally – Relief fund for all industry employees, providing $500 grants.
  • One Fair Wage – Emergency fund for all hospitality and gig economy workers. Currently fundraising to refill the fund but still accepting applications.
  • Restaurant Opportunities Centers United – Relief fund for all industry employees.
  • Restaurant Workers Community Foundation – National relief fund that is not up and running yet but will be soon. Email to express interest and receive an application when they are live.
  • USBG National Charity Foundation – Apply for Bartender Emergency Assistance Program. You do not need to be a member of USBG to receive aid.
  • Golden Rule Charity – Grant fund for hospitality workers who have been in the industry for at least 6 months. Money is distributed to vendors instead of directly to applicant (i.e. to your landlord if you apply for help with rent).
  • James Beard Foundation – Emergency relief fund to begin accepting applications in the next few days. Visit JBF website to add your information and express interest in an application when they go live. For more information fill out this form.
  • Lift your Spirits – Grant for US industry employees who receive the majority of their income from hospitality jobs. First come first serve. Grant applications available on their site.
  • Personal Loans – Maine residents can apply for zero interest loans of up to $5,000 to be received three times (15,000 total). Lending institutions are working with Finance Authority of Maine (FAME) to employ this. This is a part of very recent legislature put in place to help make up gaps in unemployment benefits. More info on the FAME website


  • Good Shepherd Food Bank – Extended hours for food pick up. Find locations for local food pantries and soup kitchens on their site.
  • SNAP Benefits (Food Stamps) – Apply here. Caps on yearly income and current checking + savings account balances apply. Check F.A.Q. to determine eligibility.


  • Jersey’s Subs and Sweets (BANGOR) – Free bagged lunches for students in need. No questions asked.
  • Boba (LEWISTON) – Free meals for kids Tuesday- Saturday until April 2nd .
  • South Portland Boys & Girls Club – Grab and go dinners from 4-5pm Monday through Friday, SoPo School Dept. will begin serving lunch there Tuesday 3/24 11 am – 1 pm.


  • CMP – Cut-offs for residential non-payment suspended.
  • City of Portland Rent Assistance – As part of the CARES act Portland residents can  receive up to $1,000/ month for 3 months paid to the landlord.  $250/ month also available for utilities.  Must meet income cap and be current on rent to apply.  This program has pretty strict requirements, so be sure to check the link for full eligibility information.
  • MaineHousing Covid-19 Rent Assistance – Program available to all Maine residents.  $500 paid to the landlord for current or outstanding rent with the agreement that the landlord will not evict the tenant during the month they receive the payment.  Similar to the Portland program you must meet income cap and strict eligibility requirements.  More information and application available through the link.
  • Rent Abatement – Ask landlords for rent deferrals or reductions. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have announced that they will be implementing deferrals/ reductions for the next 12 months on mortgages they’ve insured. It’s expected that other banks will be following suit. If landlords aren’t signing onto this yet, tenants should keep asking.


  • MaineCare – Furloughed employees without health insurance in Maine are eligible to apply for health benefits via MaineCare.
  • NAMI of Maine – 24/7 helpline.Text NAMI to 741741 or call the NAMI helpline at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264).
  • Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) – 24/7 disaster distress helpline. Text TalkWithUs to 66746 or call 1-800-985-5990 to connect with a trained crisis counselor.
  • Maine Coalition to End Domestic Violence (MCEDV) – For safety planning and domestic violence help call statewide helpline at 1-866-834-HELP. Hearing impaired line 1-800-437-1220. Find local organizations by county and tribal community here on their website.
  • Sexual Assault Response Services of Southern Maine (SARSSM) + Sexual Assault Response Services of Midcoast Maine (SARSMM) 24/7 helpline. Call 1-800-871-7741 – Southern Maine site, Midcoast site
  • National Domestic Violence Hotline – Free, confidential national hotline and online chat for domestic abuse survivors available 24/7. Call them at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233), there are Spanish speaking lines available.  Check out their guide for what domestic abuse might look like during the pandemic.


7 comments on “Maine Hospitality Workers Resource Guide

  1. Just to note correct spelling of the word “shepherd” in Good Shepard Food Bank is “shepherd.”

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