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Virtual tip jar lets you put money directly back into a laid off hospitality worker's pocket

Visit Buffalo Niagara program is helping bartenders and servers get by until restaurants re-open

Buffalo's hospitality industry is hurting amid the COVID-19 public health crisis. Now, there's a new way to help laid-off servers and bartenders as they enter the third weekend in a row without tip money coming in. 

Visit Buffalo Niagara just partnered with local restaurants to launch a virtual tip jar program. It will pair you directly with a server, bartender or hotel worker who has been laid off because of the COVID-19 pandemic. You can then tip them through Venmo or another cash app.

Visit Buffalo Niagara President and C.E.O. Patrick Kaler says being able to tip directly like this makes the experience more personal for both sides, helping us all stay connected during these challenging times.

"You can also send them a message, which I've done it a few times," he told 2 On Your Side. "I think that's what's been encouraging for me, to go on and do that and give them a little bit of hope. We're all in this together and we recognize what they do for their job on a normal basis, and we recognize their need right now." 

The program has about 200 hospitality workers registered so far. Hospitality workers can sign up through the same link used to donate, and will be accepted to the program once their employment has been verified through the restaurants. You can access the site to sign up as one of the workers, or to leave a tip, by clicking here

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