Last Call: Fun Ways To Support Bars And Restaurants (Besides Eating)

It's been emphasized time and again the last few months that restaurants need our help right now, so anyone with the means should buy gift certificates or order takeout to support their favorite local spots. On a grander scale, if you're looking to support COVID-19 relief efforts, there are all sorts of ways you can help the cause, like making an online donation toward restaurant employee grants or buying hot-dog-centric merchandise that donates a portion of its proceeds to Feeding America. But there are lots of ways to help, beyond the obvious (and important) charities and donation drives. When open-hearted people want to tackle a catastrophic problem, they do it with creativity and gusto.

We at The Takeout learned this week about a fun way to raise money for COVID-19 relief while also supporting local artists: Eating Our Feelings, a zine all about food and drink in the time of the pandemic. Featuring the words and illustrations of Atlanta-area artists (compiled by Lizzy Johnston, Linda McNeil, and Austin L. Ray), the zine will be released June 5 and is available for preorder online. It costs $20, and 100% of its proceeds will go toward The Giving Kitchen in Atlanta, which "provides stability for some of the most hard-working and vulnerable members of our community: food service workers."

It's just one of several enlightening fundraisers we've seen in recent weeks. The Hideout, a beloved live music venue and Chicago institution, has been relying in part on merch sales to keep itself afloat, and it recently teamed up with local artists to create limited-edition postcards for people to send notes to their loved ones during quarantine. The postcards are just as useful as they are beautiful (do you want to send them in the mail or hang them on your wall?), and 30% of the proceeds go directly back to the artists who designed them.

What are some innovative local community efforts happening in your area? For those with the ability to make donations these days, what might be the best use for those dollars?