Longhorn Steakhouse, a national chain of restaurants, has only been in the Austin area for a year. But Director of Operations Gus Barbosa and his team have enthusiastically embraced the Austin community. With a core value of community giving as an impetus, Barbosa and about 40 employees from the five area restaurants are volunteering at The Project on Feb. 23. Not only will they be working alongside the 2,000 students, faculty, staff, alumni and community volunteers during UT’s biggest community service event, they will be feeding all 2,000 volunteers hamburgers, hotdogs, chips and drinks.
“Longhorn has been around since 1981,” said Barbosa. “And we’re really big about connecting with the local community and doing special events in the local community.” These include providing breakfast or lunch for fundraising events, though The Project includes the largest number of people Austin Longhorn team has fed at a nonprofit event yet. “We usually handle 200 or 300 people,” he said, adding that his team is stoked about feeding 2,000.
Yvonne Loya, director of the Volunteer and Service Learning Center which sponsors The Project every year said Longhorn’s contribution is phenomenal. “As the volunteer capacity for The Project increases each year, finding meaningful ways to demonstrate our appreciation to outstanding volunteers is challenging,” explained Loya. “Partnering with members of the private sector who value the efforts of UT students, faculty and staff members as much as we do, allows us to focus our resources on Project expenses without compromising the overall volunteer experience.”
“Thanks to the generous gift being provided by the Longhorn Steakhouse volunteers can look forward to not only giving their all during Project, but also sinking their teeth into a delicious meal after their work is finished,” added Loya.
Barbosa is excited about working alongside students and being involved in the university community. “We would love to be involved with smaller groups at the university–student organizations, fraternities, sororities.”
Longhorn Steakhouse is a supporter of many worthwhile nonprofits in the 35 states where the restaurants are located, including a recent donation of $15,000 to Round Rock Parks and Recreation.