Servers at restaurants depend on tips to supplement their generally low hourly rate. Due to COVID-19 and the restrictions placed on restaurants, dine-in customers are limited if they’re present at all, which makes it difficult for servers to earn the money they need.
However, community members have stepped up to help supplement the wages lost because of the pandemic by forming a group where servers can be “adopted” and helped for the holidays.
Toni Wilkins says that she saw a post about adopting servers by Melissa Money-Smith from Pizza Tonight in Hardinsburg. The two got to talking and collaborated to make a Facebook group where individuals could “adopt” servers in Meade and Breckinridge Counties.
When a server is “adopted” by an individual, the individual either makes a monetary donation to the server so that they can buy gifts for their family on Christmas, or the individual does the shopping for them themselves. Severs can be given gift cards, food donations, money to help with bills, whatever they need.
“I was a server for almost 16 years, so I know the struggle around Christmas time,” said Wilkins. “My mom grew up struggling raising four girls with no help. I struggled raising my three kids. I know what it’s like to struggle. I don’t want any child to go without.”
The Facebook group didn’t take long to hit the ground running. Within 10 minutes of the first server’s name being posted, they were adopted. Within an hour, almost 100 people had joined the group, which they called “Adopt a server in Meade and Breck Co.”
Wilkins was contacted by Sheila Foster with the Meade County Angel Ministry, and they worked together to help as many as they could. Within three days of the group’s creation, all of Meade County’s servers that requested help or were put on the list were either adopted or helped by the Angel Ministry.
“Serving is a really stressful job because you don’t know what you’re going to make each day you work,” said Wilkins. “Most people don’t know that servers only make $2.13-$2.60 per hour.”
Wilkins says that many don’t tip when they utilize curbside pickup, and those tips usually have to be split with other servers.
In total, Wilkins estimates that the group has helped more than 50 servers in Meade and Breckinridge Counties have a merry Christmas, but she doesn’t take the credit for it.
“A lot of people are thanking me for what I did,” said Wilkins. “To be honest, I didn’t do anything. The community did it. I just made the group. Everyone is struggling, and a lot of people still have a big heart to help others.”
Wilkins says that there are still plenty of Angels that need adopting through the Meade County Angel Ministry. Drop offs can be made at the Meade County Messenger or at Little Caesars during business hours. Community members can also go to the Meade County Angel Ministry’s Facebook page where they will find a link to an Amazon Wishlist of items that need to be purchased.