2020 Houston Restaurant Weeks Extended to Unprecedented Duration
During this time of extraordinary need for restaurants and Houstonians alike, Houston Restaurant Weeks (HRW) is extending the annual fundraiser until September 30, 2020. That means for the first time ever, diners get to enjoy the special set-price menus from hundreds of restaurants around town for a full two months. Originally the fundraiser was to run from August 1 until September 7.
Updated, 8/31/2020, 10:21 a.m.: While Houston Restaurant Weeks were extended through September back in 2017 after Hurricane Harvey, many were not able to take advantage of it for several days due to power outages, wind damage and flooding that caused many restaurants to temporarily close. This year is the first time that diners can enjoy a full two months’ worth of Houston Restaurant Weeks deals.
Food is comfort but, as the ongoing pandemic and Hurricane Laura have reminded us, it is all too often also about survival. Before COVID-19 crisis, the Houston Food Bank was already helping feed an estimated 800,000 people in the Houston area. However, 3.3 million Texans have filed for unemployment since March 15 and the state unemployment rate has jumped from below 4% to 8% due to coronavirus. That means the nonprofit is now helping 1.1 million people put meals on their table. In addition, the Houston Food Bank is helping our neighbors to the east as they deal with the aftermath of Hurricane Laura.
Since its original founding in 2003 by the late television and radio personality Cleverley Stone, Houston Restaurant Weeks has become one the largest fundraisers for the Houston Food Bank. It’s raised over $16.6 million for the nonprofit in 17 years.
Stone lost her battle with cancer in May of this year, and her daughter Katie Stone stepped in to continue leading the effort. Since attempts to fight the spread of the coronavirus have forced restaurants to operate at 50% capacity and severely cut into the industry’s revenues, donations from Houston Restaurant Weeks menus are reduced to $1 per meal. In previous years, the donations had been $3 or $5 per meal depending on the price of the prix fixe menu. The decision to extend this year’s fundraising efforts will help offset the donation-per-meal reduction and continue to support struggling restaurants.
In a statement, Katie Stone said, “I am humbled and in awe of what has happened for restaurants here in Houston this past month. HRW came this year at a time that could not have been more crucial, and I am so inspired and so grateful to be able to continue my mother’s cause of feeding families in Houston.”