Social media challenge aims to help servers struggling during COVID-19 pandemic

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The holiday season may be over but the spirit of giving is continuing through a social media challenge.

It targets an industry that has been hit especially hard during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Server Tip Challenge is all about “paying it forward” figuratively and literally.

To complete the challenge, post your restaurant choice and Venmo handle on social media, ask people to donate to your account, and at the end of the meal, all of those donations go into the tip for your server.

Mark Keene and his family have done this twice now since Christmas.

“The first time we went to Chuy’s and we were able to tip our server Steve $690,” Keene said. “And, then the second time we went to Jeff Ruby’s and we were able to tip our server $1,215.”

For the restaurant industry that has suffered major setbacks throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, this challenge is actually a positive one.

“It was fun to see just people you wouldn’t have expected, everyone from a 16-year-old girl who got five dollars into it and other people who I know are struggling, they were able to get in on it with just five dollars, ten dollars,” Keene said. “So, it was just a lot of people getting in smaller amounts to be able to combine the efforts because generosity is kind of contagious.”

It’s the Keene family’s way of making a difference one tip at a time.

“I think seeing the impact on the individuals, not so much the money but them knowing they were seen and valued at that moment and knowing that they mattered to someone,” Keene said. “Then of course for me, it’s very much about being able to say the love of God is real.”

This is something Keene and his family plan to continue doing about once a month, and he hopes that this inspires others to cash in on the Server Tip Challenge too.

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