PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A Vancouver nonprofit is lending a helping hand to local restaurants in the Portland metro area.

The Northwest Wine & Food Society’s newest program “Restuarant Reboot” offers support to help small restaurant owners survive the COVID-19 pandemic. So far, the organization has raised about $15,000 that will be used towards awarding multiple grants to local favorites.

“We are trying to make sure that we can save as many of these local restaurants, as possible,” said NW&FS treasurer Julie Olson. “We’re giving out $2,000 grants. Even though it’s not a lot, it’s something and it could be the difference between whether a restaurant stays or is able to pay their rent or their employees in a given month.”

Olson said grant recipients are nominated and decided by the community through a voting process.

The non-profit, NW&FS launched the program in July in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Since then, Restaurant Reboot has awarded grants to two restaurants: Bleu Door Bakery in Vancouver and Arden in Portland. Bonnie Brasure of Bleu Door Bakery said the unexpected helping hand brought her to tears.

“I was like what, what … what!?,” exclaimed Brasure, who had to close her bakery for three months. “I started crying. I was like, ‘Oh my gosh’ because that a huge thing right now with the way things are.”

Brasure said she had close her award-winning bakery for three months after COVID-19 hit. She has since shifted her operation to serving customers through an express window,

“We’re having to think outside of the box of what we’re doing, what new things can we do to get more income? That’s where we’re earmarking the money now,” Brasure added.

Kelsey Glasser of Arden, the second recipient, also expressed gratitude. Glasser said colder weather due to hit the region soon will bring new challenges, and adds that every bit of support right now makes a difference.

“Every little bit helps right now because everything kind of has been reduced to a smaller scale,   revenue is lower,” she said. “I feel really blessed and grateful that they thought of us– and want to see us survive.”

Arden currently offers outdoor seating, delivery, and take-out.

Nominations have been halted for the time being, but the nonprofit continues to raise funds for the next round of grants under the Restaurant Reboot program. If you are interested in making a donation, click here.