The coronavirus has greatly impacted small and large businesses, in particular the foodservice community. This has forced establishments across the country to close dining rooms, leaving takeout, pick-up, drive-thru and delivery the only opportunities to keep their businesses afloat.

To help combat this tough economic period, a coalition of restaurants is asking Americans to support their favorite establishments on Tuesday, March 31, by eating at least one delivery or pick-up meal. Known as The Great American Takeout, the first edition of this initiative took place on Tuesday, March 24, and helped to bring in extra business for businesses across the country.

For the second edition, both Smithfield Foods and Ventura Foods are making charitable donations based on social media posts tagged with #TheGreatAmericanTakeout. For every social post tagged with #TheGreatAmericanTakeout, Smithfield Foods will make a $5 donation, up to $50,000, to CORE: CHILDREN OF RESTAURANT EMPLOYEES, a national nonprofit dedicated to assisting food and beverage service employees with children who are faced with a health crisis or natural disaster and in need of financial support. Donations made to the CORE COVID-19 Relief Fund will go to industry employees and their families in need due to the direct impact of a COVID-19 diagnosis.

Ventura Foods will donate $5 per post, up to $25,000, to the RESTAURANT EMPLOYEE RELIEF FUND (RERF.US). The National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation created RERF.US to support US restaurant workers financially impacted by the COVID-19 crisis, and to provide aid to restaurant employees nationwide.

The Great American Takeout has received widespread support, including from The Coca-Cola Company and PepsiCo, who joined the coalition to help amplify and support the cause.

“The recent groundswell of support for restaurants and restaurant employees through The Great American Takeout has been heartwarming and inspiring,” says Kathleen Ciaramello, president, Foodservice and On-Premise, Coca-Cola North America. “We hope everyone will join us in supporting these restaurants and their employees when they need us most.”

“PepsiCo is grateful to stand united with our peers to show support for restaurants across the country and the incredible employees at the heart of the industry,” says Anne Fink, president of Global Foodservice at PepsiCo. “Through programs like The Great American Takeout, we can help our customers weather this storm and reshape the way people think about dining -- eating in is the new going out.”

The first week of the Great American Takeout featured more than 50,000 social media posts tagged #TheGreatAmericanTakeout, leading to an initial $100,000 donation from Smithfield Foods to CORE. Additionally, according to research from Lieberman New York Inc, 36% of Americans became aware of the campaign.