Los Angeles is recognized across America and the world as a cultural and culinary hub. Our restaurant industry is part of the heart, soul, and backbone of our local communities, as well as a key employer in our city and across the state. There are more restaurant and food service jobs in California than anywhere else in the country.

The COVID-19 pandemic has dealt a devastating blow to workers — and few have been more affected than the servers, wait staff, cooks, and others who fuel our food sector. Recent protocols put in place by the L.A. County Department of Public Health suspending outdoor dining at restaurants (along with breweries, wineries, and bars) leaves many food service workers in need of immediate aid and support.

The Secure Emergency Relief for Vulnerable Employees (SERVE) is a new partnership between Mayor Garcetti and the Mayor’s Fund for Los Angeles to provide cash aid to food service workers who reside in the City of Los Angeles. SERVE will offer 4,000 food service workers with a one-time $800 stipend to help them during this critical period.

This program will provide much needed additional financial support to some of the workers who have been most deeply impacted by the pandemic. SERVE is one of many programs developed by Mayor Garcetti and the City of L.A. to support Angelenos who have received limited assistance from the federal government during the COVID-19 pandemic.

For more information on additional COVID-19 relief and support, visit our Resources page.

SERVE ELIGIBILITY

1. Applicant must reside in the City of Los Angeles; Log on to Neighborhoodinfo.LACity.org to check to see if your address is in the City of Los Angeles. 

2. Applicant must be 18 years of age or older;

3. Applicant must have an annual income in 2019 of $58,450 or below, prior to the COVID-19 crisis. This income threshold is calculated by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) using data from 2019. For more information on how HUD calculates this figure please click here; to access a table that specifies the Area Median Income for Los Angeles for 2019 please click here and search “Los Angeles”. 

4. Applicant must have fallen into a deeper economic hardship during the crisis due to a job loss or a reduction in income of at least 50% at a food service establishment as a front or back of house employee. A food service establishment is a place where food is provided for individual portion service directly to the consumer and for this purpose, is limited to restaurants, food stands, mobile food units and push carts, and breweries, wineries and bars that serve food on the premises.

5. If you worked at a restaurant or bar, winery or brewery you must not be the owner or manager of the food service establishment.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES:


FAQs

Q: I received the $800.00 grant and have questions regarding my prepaid virtual card, who can I contact?

A: Please refer to the Toll-Free Number printed on the email you received notifying you of your selection to receive the grant

Q: How am I going to receive the $800.00 grant?

A: The City will be distributing the one-time $800 grant to all selected applicants via a Prepaid Mastercard® Virtual Account, which will be sent to you through email or text. 

Disclosure statement: Virtual Account is issued by MetaBank®, N.A., Member FDIC, pursuant to license by Mastercard International Incorporated. Mastercard is a registered trademark, and the circles design is a trademark of Mastercard International Incorporated. No cash access or recurring payments. Can be used where Debit Mastercard is accepted for online, phone/mail orders, or in stores that accept mobile wallet. Valid for up to 18 months; funds do not expire and may be available after the expiration date, fees may apply. Terms and conditions apply.

Q: What if I want a physical prepaid card instead of a virtual prepaid card?

A: Once an applicant receives notification that they will receive a grant, you will be given instructions on how to sign in to the Prepaid Mastercard® Virtual Account portal where you will have the option to request a physical prepaid card.

Q: How can I use the $800.00 grant?

A: The Prepaid Mastercard® Virtual Account can be used where Debit Mastercard is accepted for online, phone/mail orders, or in stores that accept mobile wallet. There is no cash access and it can not be used for recurring payments. 

Q: Do I need a bank account?

A: No, funds will be sent to you via a virtual prepaid card. You do NOT need a bank account. 

Q: I was not selected to receive a grant, are there other assistance programs available that I can look into?

A: Yes. See below for additional resources:

Q: How will I be notified if I am receiving the $800.00 grant?

A: Applicants receiving a grant will be notified by email or text and will be notified the week of December 21, at the earliest. 

Q: How will I be notified if I am not receiving the $800.00 grant?

A: Applicants will receive a notification from the City via email or text. Applicants will be notified the week of December 21, at the earliest.

Q: I received a call from someone asking for my social security number. What should I do?

A: Please be aware of scammers. At no point will applicants be asked to share their social security numbers.

Q: Is the City going to contact me to request additional documentation? 

A: No, documentation will not be needed. 

Q: Is the City going to contact me to request additional information?

A: At this time, all applications submitted have been vetted to ensure that applicants meet the eligibility requirements, which means you or your employer may have received a call from a City of L.A. employee. However, this does not mean you will be receiving a grant. At no point will applicants be asked to share their social security numbers. 

Q: When can I apply? 

A: Applications are now closed. The application went live on Monday, December 7, 2020 at 9:00 AM and closed at 11:59 PM on Friday, December 11.

Q: If you contact my supervisor, does that mean I am receiving the grant?

A: Applications submitted are being vetted to ensure that applicants meet the eligibility requirements, which includes calls using the employer information provided. However, this does not mean you will be receiving a grant. 

Q: Shouldn’t I be entitled to SERVE funds as a U.S. citizen?

A: SERVE is being funded by private donations. Any assistance through this fund is not considered a public benefit.