Whiskey lovers raising money for those struggling during coronavirus pandemic

Whiskey lovers raising money for those struggling during coronavirus pandemic

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Whiskey lovers are stepping up to help the local hospitality industry. They are putting on a whiskey auction to help people struggling during the coronavirus pandemic.

Many businesses are having to cut hours or lay off workers just to stay afloat during this unprecedented time. The community group is raising thousands of dollars to make sure those workers are taken care of.

“I can’t help everybody, but I can help as many people as I can,” explains Todd Paschall, the auction organizer and Jacksonville Bourbon & Whiskey Society administrator on Facebook.

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Paschall has been in the hospitality industry for nearly three decades. Fortunately, he’s been able to keep his job during the coronavirus pandemic, but he knows far too many who haven’t been so lucky.

“They depend on this paycheck, and then all of a sudden, boom, they don’t have a paycheck coming in. How are you going to make the rent payment? How are you going to buy food?” explains Paschall.

In order to help, he started an Facebook live whiskey auction with the Jacksonville Bourbon and Whiskey Society to raise money for the laid-off workers.

Group members donated bottles of whiskey for the auction and then others bid on them live on Facebook.

“It was successful beyond my expectations. We raised $3,400.”

He used the money to buy $50 Publix gift cards to give out to local hospitality workers in need. It’s an idea that has now caught on like wildfire.

Local bartender and entrepreneur Nick Hogan also started stepping in to help.

“Working with The Volstead, we raised over $1,200 just yesterday alone, which is awesome,” explains Hogan, who is also a part of the whiskey Facebook group.

It’s a reminder that one small act of kindness, especially during times like this, can go a long way.

“This has just grown and grown and grown, and I’m totally blown away at the response and the generosity of the people in Jacksonville,” adds Paschall.

Because it’s been so successful, they are doing another whiskey auction this Sunday at 3 p.m. on the group’s Facebook page, Jacksonville Bourbon and Whiskey Society.

Join the group to see what other fundraisers are happening to help the service industry, too.