Gold Star mom is helping struggling NH restaurant servers
By PATRICK CRONIN | Portsmouth Herald, N.H. | Published: January 13, 2021
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EXETER, N.H. (Tribune News Service) — Gold Star mother Natalie Healy has launched a campaign to help Seacoast restaurant servers and bartenders struggling financially due to the coronavirus pandemic.
"I wanted to do something to help the restaurant workers in the area since I have been one myself off and on for many years," said Healy, who most recently worked as a waitress at Bogie's at Depot Square in Hampton up until the start of the pandemic.
"For me, it wasn't that much of a hardship because I'm retired and I have an online business," Healy said, "But other workers, I know they are hurting."
Healy started the Facebook page "Adopt a Seacoast NH Server/Bartender" on Dec. 30. She hopes it will be used as a vehicle to connect those in need of assistance with people willing to help.
Healy said she knows of many restaurant servers and bartenders who have been struggling to make ends meet since the start of the pandemic. Some have been laid off as a growing number of restaurants decide to hibernate for the winter as cases continue to rise. Others have seen shifts reduced and tips decline from a decrease in foot traffic.
Healy said she got the idea of the Facebook page after seeing similar ones pop up in Pennsylvania and other parts of the country.
The page calls on restaurant workers in need to write a post asking for help for bills, food, rent, etc. Anyone who reads the post can then offer a helping hand.
"Say a single mom needs some coats or boots for her children, but is short on cash," Healy explained. "She can put a post up on the page (or send a private message and it will be posted anonymously if she doesn't want it made public), and then a reader can 'adopt' her and donate the coats."
Healy is no stranger to stepping up when she sees a need.
She runs the Dan Healy Foundation, named after her Navy SEAL son who was killed along with 18 others while trying to rescue a trapped SEAL team in Afghanistan in 2005.
Healy's mission is depicted in the movie "Lone Survivor" starring Mark Wahlberg.
The foundation assists veterans, single-parent households and has given out thousands of dollars in grants and scholarships to seniors and veterans attending trade school.
This Christmas, the foundation sent gift cards to single mothers.
Healy said she's been doing that the last couple of years remembering what it was like to be a single mom herself during the holidays.
Healy said she hopes the "Adopt a Server" Seacoast Facebook page takes off.
"Around here I don't see how anyone would have to go without," Healy said. "There are so many people who have the wherewithal to take care of things and that could help someone else."
She also created a GoFundMe page, where people can donate money directly that will be given to those workers in the most need.
"The goal is to help as many people as we can," Healy said.
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