Home Slice, Hestia feed health care workers; nonprofits launch funds to help those in need; and more business efforts to support the Central Austin community

Home Slice Pizza announced new hours, increased pay for employees and a program to donate pies to health care workers. (Courtesy Corbin Bruton)
Home Slice Pizza announced new hours, increased pay for employees and a program to donate pies to health care workers. (Courtesy Corbin Bruton)

Home Slice Pizza announced new hours, increased pay for employees and a program to donate pies to health care workers. (Courtesy Corbin Bruton)

Every month in Community Impact Newspaper is a section called Impacts highlighting businesses opening, coming soon, celebrating anniversaries, relocating or closing.

This month, CI is doing something a little different on its website. City orders to encourage social distancing, slow the spread of the coronavirus and protect residents have dealt a blow to the local economy.

Some local businesses have started new efforts to keep their neighbors healthy and help those in need. CI is highlighting some of those efforts, but there are surely more in the community. If readers know of a local business that is working to help the community get through this time, send an email to ctanews@communityimpact.com.

1. The Andy Roddick Foundation, headquartered at 8509 FM 969, Ste. 509, Austin, announced April 14 it has launched a Family Emergency Fund to support children learning outside the classroom in underserved communities. The fund will provide 200 tablets or laptops to students, and local lifestyle brand Kendra Scott will provide books. www.arfoundation.org

2. Bennu Coffee launched a new program April 15, Bennu for You, that allows customers to send an order to surprise any person or group they so choose. Bennu will deliver the order with a note that tells the recipient how to pass on the effort. The coffee shop's two Austin locations—2001 E. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. and 515 S. Congress Ave.—are open for takeout and delivery as well as pickup grocery items, iced coffee and cold brew. East Austin: 512-478-4700. South Austin: 512-448-3919. www.bennucoffee.com

3. Birds Barbershop started a social media campaign April 14 to provide free haircuts to medical workers upon reopening. For every person who tags a photo of themselves and their shaggy look on Instagram with #missubirds, the local barbershop chain will provide a health care worker one free cut. Birds has multiple Austin locations, including the original at 2110 S. Lamar Blvd. All shops are closed temporarily under stay-home orders. 512-442-8800. www.birdsbarbershop.com

4. Breakthrough Central Texas, located at 1050 E. 11th St., Austin, announced April 15 it is starting a fundraising campaign to raise $100,000 in emergency aid for families impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. The local nonprofit, which provides educational opportunities for first-time college students, will send the funds to students and families for necessities such as grocery gift cards or rent and utility payments. Luci Baines Johnson and her family will offer a $50,000 match for funds raised toward the effort, according to the nonprofit. 512-692-9444. www.breakthroughctx.org

5. Desk Plants, located in the Domain Nothside development at 3200 Palm Way, Ste. 150, Austin, and The Great Outdoors, 2730 S. Congress Ave., Austin, have teamed up as of April 14 to send hard-to-kill plants to Austinites spending more time at home. Desk Plants offers delivery of plants as its storefront is closed, and demand outpaced its supply because of the pandemic. Desk Plants teamed up with a competitor, The Great Outdoors, to solve the problem, as The Great Outdoors became the exclusive wholesaler to Desk Plants to sell some of its inventory and meet the demand from local customers. www.deskplants.com. The Great Outdoors: 512-448-2992. www.gonursery.com

6. H-E-B will deliver 75,000 meals to health care workers across the state. The San Antonio-based grocery chain announced April 10 it will be sending its Meal Simple microwaveable meals to doctors, nurses and other health care workers. H-E-B says the meal donations are worth more than $350,000. In March, the grocery chain announced a $3 million effort to support community efforts fighting the coronavirus. www.heb.com

7. Hestia, located at 607 W. Third St., Ste. 105, is preparing daily meals for 200 medical workers at Dell Seton Medical Center. Residents who want to support the effort can sign up at the restaurant's website. Hestia says feeding the team of 200 medical professionals daily will cost about $600 per day. Hestia is open for pickup and delivery orders and is offering groceries at its restaurant location. 512-333-0737. www.hestiaaustin.com

8. Home Slice Pizza announced April 10 it raised wages for all its employees working in its South Austin and North Loop stores by $3 per hour, retroactive to the day it closed its dining rooms, March 16. In addition, Home Slice will donate a pie to a community partner—including the Austin EMS Association and the Ascension Seton Medical Center ICU—for every pizza purchased Monday through Wednesday between the hours of 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. The local pizza spot's locations at 1415 and 1421 S. Congress Ave. and 501 E. 53rd St. are open noon-10 p.m. daily for takeout. North Loop: 512-707-7437. South Congress: 512-444-7437. www.homeslicepizza.com

9. Pura Coco, a coconut water company based in Austin, donated 6,000 bottles of coconut water to the Central Texas Food Bank the week of April 6. According to the company, it has donated a total of 25,000 bottles to the food bank over the course of the last six months. The coconut water company has its product available in Central Market and Natural Grocers locations across the state. www.puracoco.com

10. The owners of Rudy's Country Store & Bar-B-Q, which has a location at 3914 N. Lamar Blvd., Austin, and Mighty Fine Burgers announced April 13 a one-time bonus for all employees based on the number of hours worked over the last two weeks since the onset of the coronavirus crisis. In addition, owners Brian Nolan and Ken Schiller are allowing employees to cash in unused paid time off and forgiving group health insurance premiums for the next eight weeks. All locations of both restaurants remain open for takeout and delivery as well as grocery staples. Rudy's North Lamar: 512-838-3337. www.rudysbbq.com. www.mightyfineburgers.com

11. St. David's Foundation, based at 1303 San Antonio St., Ste. 500, Austin, launched a $10 million fund to support nonprofits impacted by the coronavirus April 9 and began accepting applications from nonprofits April 13. The fund is open to all 501(c)(3) organizations that have been impacted in Bastrop, Caldwell, Hays, Travis and Williamson Counties. The foundation has set up three deadlines on a rolling basis—May 7, Aug. 13 and Oct. 15. 512-879-6600. www.stdavidsfoundation.org

12. SWBC Mortgage and Shake Shack donated 120 meals to health care workers at Texas Oncology's Central Austin location at 6204 Balcones Drive on April 17. According to SWBC Mortgage, its local team under lending advisor Cameron Breed had money in its marketing budget for planned advertisements, and instead decided to redirect the money to a charitable cause to feed doctors, nurses, staff and patients. www.swbcmortgage.com. www.shakeshack.com
By Jack Flagler
Jack is the editor of Community Impact Newspaper's Central Austin and Southwest Austin editions. He began his career as a sports reporter in Massachusetts and North Carolina before moving to Austin in 2018. He grew up in Maine and graduated from Boston University, but prefers tacos al pastor to lobster rolls. You can get in touch at jflagler@communityimpact.com


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