Orioles To Honor Man Who Helped Support Struggling Baltimore Restaurants Amid COVID-19 Pandemic
- Now, we showed you firsthand how devastating the pandemic has been for the restaurant industry.
NICOLE BAKER: Yeah, but some local heroes have turned that loss into generosity. And on opening day, our Orioles will say thank you.
DAVE SEEL: It means a lot.
NICOLE BAKER: Before the first pitch even glides from the mound--
DAVE SEEL: I'm thrilled. I'm going to be taking my 10-year-old daughter.
NICOLE BAKER: --opening day will already be a home run for Dave Seel.
DAVE SEEL: It's really been an incredible year, and it has just shown just how much Baltimore cares about its own.
NICOLE BAKER: Caring for others is exactly why he is being honored by the O's Thursday. A Facebook support group that Seel created for restaurant workers is now a nonprofit, serving everything from grants, meals, and money all to workers and restaurants trying to bounce back.
DAVE SEEL: The first initiative was our Hundred for Hundred Grant Program for restaurant workers, and that was $100 microgrants for unemployed or underemployed restaurant workers.
NICOLE BAKER: The devastation was unprecedented, and a space for resources quickly grew into a family.
DAVE SEEL: I've worked within the restaurant industry for the last 10 years here in Baltimore, and I really wanted to do something. And I really wanted to provide that sense of positivity and sense of community.
NICOLE BAKER: As restrictions lifted, outdoor dining became the bread and butter.
DAVE SEEL: We provided about $20,000 to 20 different restaurants to assist with outdoor dining initiatives.
NICOLE BAKER: At a time of hopelessness, Seel guided others to their sweet spot.
DAVE SEEL: I think that is something that is just a beautiful thing about this city, is that we really care about each other and care about our neighbors. And we were able to raise over $250,000 throughout the year.
NICOLE BAKER: Now, Seel says he hopes that the fund will support entrepreneurs moving forward, and he encourages everyone to get vaccinated so that they can safely support local businesses.