HSMAI Hospitality Hero: Jonathan DiFonzo

As part of the 2020 Adrian Awards, HSMAI Hospitality Heroes is honoring hospitality professionals for their efforts to take a leadership position, champion a cause, or create a program that has directly benefited industry workers, medical personnel, first responders, or communities impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. Nominations are open.

HOSPITALITY HERO: Jonathan DiFonzo, district sales representative for Cheney Brothers Inc. in Boynton Beach, Florida

CONTRIBUTION: DiFonzo turned the tables on restaurant workers in Delray Beach, Florida, who found themselves out of work because of the coronavirus lockdown by arranging to supply them with meals. He did it by organizing a GoFundMe campaign called “Service Industry Relief Fund” that raised more than $4,700 — and then securing matching produce donations from Boy’s Fresh Market, and was featured in a local CBS news story.

RESULTS: Armed with the money and produce, DiFonzo arranged for three dozen volunteers to pack and distribute 200 meal boxes to members of the restaurant community.

NOMINATED BY: Debbie Howarth, Ed.D., interim assistant dean at Johnson & Wales University College of Business — “Jonathan is an alumnus of Johnson & Wales University. His example of initiative and doing what needs to be done to support his restaurant community makes us all very proud.”

The HSMAI Adrian Awards have been honoring excellence in travel marketing for 64 years. Entry information for the 2020 Adrian Awards will be available soon. For more information, visit www.adrianawards.com.