How you can help your favorite black-owned restaurants during COVID-19

"We want those lights to still be on once Corona has passed."
Posted at 1:31 PM, May 29, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-29 17:59:43-04

RICHMOND, Va.-- Richmond Black Restaurant Experience (RBRE) is known for their annual event, a week long celebration of the region's 35 black-owned restaurants.

"We operate the very first Monday in March and our restaurants are seeing a very huge boost," said Shemicia Bowen, co partner and founder of RBRE. "What was different this year is that the very next week after we had an amazing turn out, wonderful weather. COVID invaded the city and the world and life as we know it kinda changed and especially had an impact on the business owners."

Bowen tells CBS 6 they are now working to help those businesses as they try to reopen.

So, they have launched the RBRE fundraiser.

So far they have raised more than $3,200 of their $17,000 goal, that will be handed out in the form of grants.

"This is about sustaining black owned businesses and we’re inviting everyone to come in and continue to participate. Dine how you can, but also be willing to make a small investment into these business owners, most of them are really struggling right now," said Bowen

"We also know that they are the ones who are usually hit the hardest when things like this happen," said Enjoli Moon, Chairperson for BLK RVA Board and Creator of Afrikana Film Festival.

Moon says they also have joined in to help in RBRE Fundraiser.

"Having access to economic resources has just always be something of a challenge in the black community," said Moon. "So if we have any opportunity to pour in that community during times of hardship that is certainly apart of the mission of BLK.”

BLK RVA so far has been able to raise nearly $500 with the proceeds from their merchandise shop.

"The importance of choosing Richmond Black Restaurant Experience, their fund as one of the spaces for us to donate to, is that the Black restaurant entrepreneurial space , contributes so much to the Richmond fabric, to the fabric of who we are and to the fabric of this idea of black excellence and black entrepreneurial-ship," said Moon

And they are getting ready to open up another way for you to participate with a t-shirt campaign where proceeds will be used for raising funds.

The fundraisers are a collective effort to make sure your favorite restaurants can be ready to reopen and serve up food for the soul.

"We want those lights to still be on once corona hast passed... It will pass. We’ll get through this as a family, as a community and we want these businesses and business owners that we love to be around afterwards too," said Bowen.