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Who We Are and Why What We do Matters; CDAIDE Executive Director's Speech at Impact Club on Sept. 7

My name is Jason Nye. I’m the Executive Director of a local organization called CDAIDE. We serve the hospitality industry. The hardworking and often forgotten folks that prepare and serve your food, that clean your hotel rooms, and do a myriad of other thankless tasks. There are over 7,500 hospitality workers in Coeur d’Alene that keep our service industry afloat and help bring tourism money into our community. Most of them are living paycheck to paycheck and over 80% lack medical coverage. For many, a single financial emergency can spell disaster and be the difference between having a warm, safe place to sleep at night or finding a park bench somewhere.

CDAIDE serves Coeur d’Alene-area hospitality workers by providing no-strings-attached financial crisis assistance, meeting their immediate needs, connecting them with resources for long term self-sufficiency, and ensuring they feel valued, respected, and loved.

Of the over 150 individuals and families we’ve helped over the past year, let me give you a few examples.

Due to rent increasing, a single mother who had escaped an abusive relationship and worked in hospitality, was unable to make house payments. In addition to and because of losing her home, she lost custody of her child. This mother came to CDAIDE with little hope of overcoming her housing challenge. She didn’t have the money to cover first and last month’s rent and a deposit for an apartment. We were able to help her in her search for an apartment and pay the needed fees to get into it. Due to this, she recovered custody of her child. Today, they are still living together.

We often step in and help hospitality workers when they need a medical procedure that will prevent them from working. In this second situation, a woman was missing work to stay home and take care of her significant other who was fighting a losing battle with brain cancer. With neither one of them able to take shifts at work and medical bills accruing rapidly, we stepped in to cover their monthly costs, ensuring the woman could spend the time that was left with her loved one.

This next may seem small, but if you are a parent and have ever had your child ask if they can go to camp, get music lessons, or play a sport and you had to say no because you couldn’t afford it, you know the heartbreak hospitality workers face. There was a family that we helped during the middle of the pandemic. The father, who worked in the hospitality industry, was losing hours at the restaurant as businesses scaled operations back and restrictions were put in place to limit the number of customers in food establishments. We helped with some of their bills, keeping them on their feet and housed during an extremely challenging time. Time passed and we received the sad news that the father suffered a heart attack and passed away. This family was now down to one paycheck as they struggled through this loss. The son, seeking an outlet for his emotions, wanted to take drum lessons, but as you can imagine, this was a cost they couldn’t afford at this time. The mother, knowing CDAIDE had helped out in the past, reached out to us, not expecting us to be able to help, but hoping we knew of a resource for them. To her surprise, we were able to step in and cover the cost of the drum lessons. This mother who had been through so much, was able to go back to her heartbroken child and see a small sliver of joy in his eyes again as she told him yes, you can take those drum lessons.

Whether it’s medical bills, transportation, impacts of a pandemic, rising housing costs, and yes, even drum lessons, CDAIDE helps hospitality workers and their families through whatever financial crisis they may encounter. We serve those who serve. Thank you for your time.

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