Real Hero Stories

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We do not pay grants for the following: medical bills (except for certain medical equipment), litigation, poor financial planning, utility bills, gas money, bail, garnishments, maternity leave, or other expenses deriving from non-emergency situations.

The HERO Fund does not cover requests for medical assistance that is already covered by health benefits, fuel costs for vehicle or home heating use, or any situation not based on a one-time, non-recurring incident.

Applying for help

Qualifying emergencies do not include circumstances that involve providing assistance to pay for debt consolidation, litigation, poor financial planning, non-essential items (e.g., cable TV, credit card payments, expenses related to vehicles, etc.), bail, garnishments, or other expenses deriving from non-emergency situations.

The HERO Fund does not cover requests for medical assistance that is already covered by health benefits, fuel costs for vehicle or home heating use, or any situation not based on a one-time, non-recurring incident.

Applicants to The HERO Fund can apply online at Emergency Fund Application.  No one can apply on behalf of an employee, except in the situations where an employee has passed away (In this case, a family member can apply for a HERO Funeral Grant) or in the event the applicant is unable to apply based on physical injury and has given express permission for their supervisor or HR person to apply on their behalf.

Once an application is received, it is reviewed by The HERO Fund Admin Team.  The HERO Admin team will work with the applicant to ensure all necessary documentation is included and then submit the application to The HERO Fund Steering Committee for review and decision based on the eligibility guidelines.  The HERO Fund Admin Team will contact the applicant if any necessary paperwork is missing.

In the event that an applicant does not speak, read, or understand English, that applicant bears responsibility to arrange for translation services. Specifically, please designate an English-speaking person to communicate with the HERO Fund Admin Team on your behalf regarding your application.  There is a place on the HERO Fund Emergency application to include that person’s name and contact information.

Documentation varies by grant application and is required at time of application to be considered and process a grant request. HERO admins may request additional documentation to support processing any grant request and applicant has up to 30 days to provide documentation for grant to be considered.

Each application is maintained by The HERO Fund Admin Team.  When the application is given to The HERO Fund Steering Committee, the applicant’s name will not be given. At no time is an applicant’s identifying information available to anyone involved in the decision-making process. Administrators of The HERO Fund are the only individuals who may have access to the confidential application for assistance, and such access is granted only to the extent required to process and fund the application, if necessary.

The HERO Fund application does provide the option for the applicant to give permission for the HERO Fund Admin Team to contact their GM in cases where they can provide information to support and expedite the processing of the application.

Typically, once an application is submitted to be reviewed for grant funding, applications are processed within 2 business days after documentation is received and grant checks are processed on the Wednesday and Thursdays after the committee considers and approves the application. All checks will be mailed to the appropriate address by USPS, which typically takes 3-7 business days. However, no application will be sent to the Steering Committee without proper documentation.

The HERO Fund Steering Committee (made up of employees representing all entities of Hamra Enterprises) receives a copy of the application to review (which does not include any identifying information about the applicant). This group has the very important responsibility of making sure that the funds are used in the most helpful manner possible.

Unfortunately, The HERO Fund is not able to provide assistance to all applicants. The committee makes decisions for assistance based on documented crises, the HERO Fund eligibility guidelines, and the bylaws that govern the committee.  After The HERO Fund Steering Committee has reviewed your application, The HERO Fund Admin Team will contact you regarding the status of your application. The committee can approve or deny an application or request additional information. The HERO Fund Admin Team will tell you what the next step in the process is following the committee’s decision.

Qualifying for help

Active employees of Boston Bread, Chicago Bread, Southern Bread, Hamra Coffee, Hamra Noodles, Hamra Management, Wendy’s of Chicago, Wendy’s of Missouri and Wendy’s of New England. An employee does not have to donate to the fund to apply for and receive funding. For some grants, there are additional tenure or age requirements in addition to being an active employee.

Applicants to The HERO Fund must have a documented emergency situation that results in a loss of life, health or property and is in the face of severe financial hardship where all other sources of funding have been exhausted. This crisis situation must be an event beyond the employee’s control. Emergency situations considered for assistance are:

  • Debt Management
  • Domestic Abuse (transitional housing)
  • Funeral expenses (must be financially responsible)
  • Emergency travel
  • Housing (eviction prevention, relocation assistance and/ or total loss of home)
  • Medical (critical illness*, medical out of work and/ or medically necessary equipment)
  • Natural Disaster
  • Transportation* (car accident, car repair, public transportation disruption)

If further information is requested, the applicant has 30 days to provide the requested information. Following receipt of the requested information, the application will be presented to The HERO Fund Steering Committee and The HERO Fund Admin Team will notify the applicant of the status of the application. If the requested information is not provided in the 30 day time period, the application will not be considered.

Depending on the nature of the request, grants can range from $100 to $2,500 for the eligible emergency event grants and from $1,000 to $5,000 for Relocation Assistance grants. (see The HERO Fund Eligibility Guidelines). However, an applicant may not receive more than the following:

Emergency Event grants: No more than two grants approved and funded in a rolling 12-month period

Housing grants: One grant in the employee’s lifetime

Transportation Events: One grant in the employee’s lifetime

In this case, the applicant would fill out two applications (one for each guideline) and provide proper documentation for each applicable guideline. The committee will consider each applicable guideline separately. All limits still apply (see above).

If the application is approved for assistance, checks are made payable directly to the applicant except in situations involving Relocation Assistance grants, in which case the monies are sent directly to the landlord. Checks are usually issued on the Wednesday and Thursday after the committee considers and approves the case and typically take about 3-7 business days to arrive by mail.

In cases where an applicant has been approved for a Medical Out of Work grant funding will be sent to the recipient on a bi-weekly basis until they return to work or the funding limit is met, whichever comes first.

Funds distributed are a grant – not a loan – and do not need to be repaid. Because the IRS considers assistance taxable income, if any applicant is granted more than $600 in assistance the applicant will receive a 1099 form at the end of the year stating receipt of the grant.

These FAQs provide general information regarding the operations of The HERO Fund. The HERO Fund Board of Directors reserves the right to change its operating policies and procedures at any time in accordance with provisions set forth in its bylaw.