The corona virus is a bully. And Hatton Smith, owner of Campesino Rum, won’t stand for it. He’s using his connections as an entrepreneur to help feed families, medical staff, and hospitality workers.
When bars and restaurants started shutting down due to COVID-19 restrictions, Hatton began making phone calls to feed those who found themselves out of a job. He had a personal connection to that industry thanks to his past as a bartender. “Each night, if I was lucky, I’d walk out with $100 cash. I would blow that cash sometimes right when I went out the door. So I knew that people who worked in that industry, living night to night, would be out of money fast.” So, he found a local restaurant, started up a tab, and they made meals for about 50 people.
His efforts have only grown since then. Not content to just feed people in one industry, he moved on to the medical field and joined BHM Cares, an organization that partners with local restaurants and businesses to feed the staff at various hospitals. “Some of these people have been working 16 hour days, around the clock,” Hatton says. “The conditions at hospitals really don’t make it a place you’d want to be right now. They don’t even have time to eat.”
The response has been very positive. Doctors and nurses are eternally grateful for food being brought to them, even if they can only have a stand-up lunch in the break room. Having one less thing to worry about is a blessing right now.
Finally, Hatton is working towards feeding families as well. He recently joined a coalition called The Great Grocery Giveback. It raises funds to give a full week of groceries to qualifying families. Those groceries come with a recipe card from local chefs, and families will also have access to online video content that shows them ways to prepare their food. So far, the organization has already raised more than 20,000 dollars.
Hatton has a few words of encouragement to small businesses, urging them to use what they have and get creative. “Being nimble and finding ways to pivot—that’s the only option.” He goes on to say the best way to help others is to make sure your business has good legs. “Worry about yourselves first. You can’t help people if your business declines.”
Hatton has high hopes for the future. He believes that the human condition benefits from challenges. “If we can find our new normal, I believe businesses will pivot and we’ll see a lot of innovation in the future.”