This week’s WCHL Hometown Hero, presented by Hendrick Southpoint, is Nick Stroud, who is working to help service workers across North Carolina during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Stroud owns three businesses in downtown Chapel Hill (Local 501, The Baxter, and Belltree) and was forced to let many of his employees go when the coronavirus outbreak hit.

“They’re great and I think that’s one of the hardest things about it,” Stroud said. “These are tips employees, the majority of them, and tipped employees live hand to mouth, paycheck to paycheck a lot of the time.”

Stroud set up a GoFundMe page with the aim of helping service workers in the community. When the GoFundMe hit $10,000, Stroud said he would take applications and 100 servers would get $100.

But Stroud wasn’t expecting the amount of traction behind the campaign.

TheGoFundMe page hit $40,000 and Stroud has since taken the next step and launched a permanent nonprofit called the Service Industry Workers Advocates of North Carolina.

“Hopefully it’ll serve all of North Carolina,” he said. “I wanted to start small, but this is kind of taking off and it’s making me realize the scope and breadth of this problem of how underrepresented and often forgotten about service industry workers are.”

Click here to learn more about the nonprofit and how you can help.