Food

DC Restaurant Industry Relief Program Hook Hall Helps Is Back With Free Meals

Hook Hall owner Anna Valero resumes assistance services out of her Park View bar.

A family at Hook Hall Helps. Photograph courtesy of Hook Hall

As DC bars and restaurants brace for a ban on indoor dining—and a possible wave of furloughs and closures—grassroots industry relief effort Hook Hall Helps will resume its services. Hook Hall owner Anna Valero will dispense free meals and supply kits from her Park View bar and beer garden to anyone in need on Mondays from 3 to 5 PM (as well as on Christmas Eve).

Valero launched Hook Hall Helps in March after having to furlough 75 employees herself when the pandemic forced DC-area businesses to close. Working with a skeleton crew of nine employees and volunteers, they connected with restaurant-supply companies to get toilet paper and cleaning products; organized chef-volunteers to make 500-plus meals a week from food donations; and teamed up with the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington to establish a citywide Worker Relief Fund, which has raised more than $675,000 to date. Valero says she paused operations in June during the industry’s more lucrative summer months to save up for what she and others predict to be a disastrous winter.

Hook Hall Helps 2.0 will provide several days worth of family meals to hospitality industry recipients designed to last three-to-four days. Industry workers can pre-register for meal distribution at meals@HookHallHelps.com  Though not required, pre-registration will allow chefs to know how many meals are anticipated. Valero says restaurant kitchens that provide meals will be compensated to support the local industry.

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Food Editor

Anna Spiegel covers the dining and drinking scene in her native DC. Prior to joining Washingtonian in 2010, she attended the French Culinary Institute and Columbia University’s MFA program in New York, and held various cooking and writing positions in NYC and in St. John, US Virgin Islands.