The St. Augustine Independent Restaurant Association (SAiRA) announced the launch of the SAiRA Foundation. A nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting St. Augustine community workers primarily within the hospitality industry in times of extreme need and to promote hospitality-based education.
“Hospitality workers are the backbone of our local and tourist-based community. They’re also susceptible to upheavals in their lives due to storms, illnesses, or other misfortunes. The foundation will help provide support when they need it to get them and their family back on their feet,” said Jeremy Ticehurst, President of SAiRA Foundation and manager at the Reef Restaurant.
Over a dozen locally-owned and managed St. Augustine restaurants make up the membership of SAiRA. Together, the restaurants employ over 500 hospitality workers in the community. “Our restaurants consider employees to be part of a huge family. And families take care of each other. When two hurricanes hit our area within a year, we personally saw the impact catastrophes can have on our employees. Many were displaced. Belongings were lost. There was loss of income. We saw a need and decided to create the foundation,” said Ticehurst.
In addition to supporting workers in need, the SAiRA Foundation will also promote hospitality education. Activities will include hospitality training within the service industry in St. Augustine. “A well-trained workforce will have a positive impact on our tourist-based community,” said Ticehurst.
Initial funding for the SAiRA Foundation will come from association members. Throughout the year, the SAiRA Foundation will host community events and fundraisers. Anyone interested in donating to the foundation can visit the SAiRA website.