With the restaurants reeling from COVID-19 shutdowns, plenty of individuals and organizations have stepped up to support the struggling industry. As one of America's most high-profile food-related charities, José Andrés's World Central Kitchen (WCK) has been no exception—and last week, WCK announced their Restaurants for the People program, which pays local restaurant to make meals for their neighbors in need, has now served over 35 million meals in 400 cities worldwide, putting over $140 million back into independent restaurants.
Meanwhile, the efforts to raise money for WCK have been equally extraordinary—including everything from a Bon Jovi virtual rosé tasting to a Parent Trap reunion. And next week, another unique fundraiser is being launched with 100 percent of the proceeds benefiting Andres's charity: Jewelry designer Marla Aaron will be selling tiny, two-inch-tall, sterling silver chairs for $250 a pop—and in New York City, you can even buy one out of a modified jewelry vending machine if you like.
Inspired by the ubiquitous sight of seating stacked in shuttered restaurants, the East Harlem-based jeweler is launching her "Take a Seat for Restaurants" initiative on February 15 to both celebrate and benefit the restaurant industry with these small charity chairs—which she says can be either worn on a necklace or kept as a figurine.
"I am a small business owner and the struggle over the last year was real and complex in the jewelry industry," Aaron stated. "That said, our pain doesn't even compare with how the restaurant industry has been challenged during the pandemic. It has been heartbreaking as a New Yorker, but the same thing is playing out with restaurants around the world. I wanted to do something immediate and am thrilled to support World Central Kitchen. Their work with Restaurants for the People keeps restaurants open feeding people who are hungry—I can't think of a better thing to do."
As an additional promotional twist, Aaron will once again be rolling out her fine jewelry vending machine (billed by Forbes as "the world's most glamorous vending machine") and selling her chairs at Rockefeller Center's South Plaza between 48th and 49th Streets between 5th and 6th Avenues. Or if glamorous vending machines aren't your thing, the chairs can also be purchased through Aaron's website or at select retailers nationwide which she says have waived their commissions to maximize funds towards the cause.
This story originally appeared on foodandwine.com
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