Actress Drew Barrymore, with help from vegan brand Field Roast, gave Phoenix, AZ-based vegan restaurant Verdura a $5,000 “tip.” Barrymore invited food blogger Diana Brandt on a recent episode of The Drew Barrymore Show after the actress learned of Brandt’s initiative to help struggling businesses during COVID-19. Brandt collects donations via Venmo and distributes them as tips of as much as $1,000 to businesses in need and has thus far helped 32 Arizona businesses weather the pandemic storm with a total of $46,000. Owned by Julia Chugerman, Verdura has closed three times during the pandemic amid financial struggles. 

A big surprise
On the show, Barrymore explained that more than 100,000 restaurants nationwide have closed since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and welcomed Brandt to the segment to explain her initiative. The award-winning food blogger spoke about her recent donation to Verdura and how Chugerman chose to distribute the funds to her employees. Barrymore then surprised Brandt by welcoming Chugerman to the show, and then revealed another surprise. 

“Our friends at the plant-based company Field Roast wanted to join in on the tipping, too, because Diana has inspired all of us, including them,” Barrymore said. “And we would love to leave a $5,000 tip at your restaurant.” Barrymore ended the segment by telling Chugerman that she would love to eat at her restaurant once COVID-19 restrictions are eased.

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