OTTAWA -- A new initiative with a focus on supporting local is stepping up to the plate to help Ottawa’s restaurant industry that’s suffered a massive hit during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I’m probably down 40-50 per cent of my business and I’ve had to adjust absolutely everything,” said Donna Chevrier, the chef and owner at Ola Cocina Taqueria.

Chevrier and others decided to do something to help and launched “Love Local Delivery.”

“It’s a local company inspired by other local businesses to sort of lift everybody up and try and get through this pandemic,” said Harriet Clunie, the executive chef at Das Lokal.

Starting with just six restaurants, dozens more have now signed up to take part in the initiative that is a partnership with Responsible Choice.

 “The key right now is for us all to work together and be collaborative and it’s over 60 restaurants sharing a delivery service,” said Sheila Whyte, the owner of Thyme & Again.

An app is being developed, for now customers place their order directly through the restaurant, pay by credit card over the phone or online. For a $5 fee, it is delivered right to your door with the money staying in the community.

“We also realized a necessity because using Uber Eats or Skip the Dishes… take about 30 per cent commission which in the restaurant industry is basically your profit margin,” said Clunie.

There is also a fundraising component to the initiative: t-shirts helping those in need.

“You can buy it on the Love Local Delivery site and part of the money will go to charity, Shepherd’s of Good Hope and Carefor the other part of the money will actually go to a restaurant of your choosing.”