Dive Brief:

  • Contractors north of the border are looking to give back to workers in the hard-hit restaurant sector and help them recover from the negative economic impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, one meal at a time.
  • The British Columbia Construction Association announced the second annual #lunchboxchallenge as part of its Construction and Skilled Trades Month in April. Organizers are offering 100 grants totaling $37,500 to encourage construction employers to treat their crews to a free lunch from a local restaurant. There will be 50 grants of $250 and 50 grants of $500, depending on crew size.
  • “Our industry was declared essential throughout the pandemic, and while it’s been a tough year, we’re proud of how well we’ve done and keen to give the workforce a bit of recognition,” said Chris Atchison, president of BCCA, in a statement. “We’re grateful that we were able to keep working. The restaurant industry hasn’t been so fortunate, so it’s good to do a little something to help the local restaurants who are also working hard in every community.”

Dive Insight:

Originally the brainchild of Vancouver-based Scott Construction in spring 2020 after the onset of the pandemic, #lunchboxchallenge was widely embraced by Canadian contractors, with more than 200 firms participating. It became an official part of Construction Month this year.

Restaurant and hospitality construction have been among the North American building sectors most impacted by the COVID-19 crisis.

“It’s wonderful to see B.C.’s construction industry go out of its way to support the wider community and reach out to local restaurants that may be struggling to get through the COVID-19 pandemic intact,” said Ian Tostenson, President and CEO of the BC Restaurant and Foodservices Association.

Contractors simply need to fill out a grant application at the Construction Month website. Sponsors are hoping for a pass-it-on type challenge to spur even more lunchtime events.