Local Foodie Influencer Gives Back Via Venmo Challenge

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Restaurants have been directly affected by the pandemic and many have tragically closed their doors because they simply were unable to make ends meet. People around the world have gotten creative when thinking of ways to support locally-owned businesses and one of those initiatives is the Venmo Challanege that originated on TikTok. Hoboken-based food influencer, Krista Stucchio aka @hashtagfoodpic decided to try her hand at the viral challenge right here in Hoboken and Jersey City. Read on to learn about Krista, the Venmo Challange, and which restaurants she’s given back to via donations.

krista stucchio venmo challenge

{Photo credit: @hashtagfoodpic}

Back in college, Krista Stucchio signed up for Instagram under the handle @hashtagfoodpic. At the time, she primarily posted about her dorm room cooking creations with friends and family. Post-grad, Krista transitioned the page’s content to focus on both what she was cooking at home, as well as the culinary options in her neighborhood. . 

Today, Krista’s account, @hashtagfoodpic, covers the food scene in Hoboken, Jersey City, Weehawken, Edgewater, New York City, and beyond with over 20K followers, and she also helps local restaurants and businesses with social content.

 

krista stucchio venmo challenge

{Photo credit: @hashtagfoodpic}

The Affect of COVID-19

At the start of COVID-19 in March of 2020, Krista immediately felt the pain of the restaurant community who were forced out of work when the stay-at-home order shut down restaurants. 

Read More: Staying In? Here Are Restaurants Offering Delivery in Hoboken + Jersey City

She saw the negative impact the closures had both financially and mentally firsthand through these relationships. Plus, Krista’s family is no stranger to the restaurant industry – her mom is a caterer in her hometown in Pennsylvania and has worked in the service industry her whole life. Krista knew in her heart she had to find an impactful way to activate her community to help beyond ordering lots of takeout and sharing her usual content. 

The Venmo Challange

krista stucchio venmo challenge

{Photo credit: @hashtagfoodpic}

It wasn’t long into the pandemic until she figured out how she might be able to make a difference. While scrolling on TikTok one day, Krista came across a post about the “Venmo Challenge” from Lexy Burke, a Nashville-based influencer. The concept is simple.

Influencers ask their community to donate {via Venmo} any amount they are comfortable for them to tip a deserving server at a local restaurant. The hope is that a surprising, significant amount of money will genuinely help ease the burden of the past few months. 

Needless to say, Krista decided to throw her “handle” in the ring and see if she could bring the “Venmo Challenge” to the greater Hudson County area. Since July 2020 and as of March 2021, Krista has raised $5,600 across 10 restaurants.

Some Of The Restaurant’s Krista Has Surprised

Freetown Road Project {Jersey City} on August 6th, 2020 

 

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A post shared by Krista Stucchio (@hashtagfoodpic)

The Cuban {Hoboken} on August 19th, 2020

 

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A post shared by Krista Stucchio (@hashtagfoodpic)

The Yacht Club {Edgewater} on August 26th, 2020 

 

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A post shared by Krista Stucchio (@hashtagfoodpic)

Zero Otto Uno {Hoboken} on October 17th, 2020 

 

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A post shared by Krista Stucchio (@hashtagfoodpic)

Leo’s Grandevous {Hoboken} on February 23rd, 2021

 

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A post shared by Krista Stucchio (@hashtagfoodpic)

Krista shared, “it is truly unbelievable to see a community come together in the spirit of good.” She mentioned that her favorite part of this entire experience has been getting to know the servers. “Their reaction is always emotional and just incredible. Many people we’ve reached were forced out of work and literally not able to make money for their families as a result of the pandemic. It’s an insanely happy moment!”

Local Collab

Her 10th tipping excursion was a special one. In February, Krista teamed up with 2 other local influencers for her 10th Venmo Challenge. Daria DeLuccia of @hoboken_eats and Hannah Taub of @talkdirty2yourfood to help raise money for a Venmo Challenge for an “OG Hoboken restaurant” – Leo’s Grandevous! The tip went to a long-time server, Christine, who ended up graciously splitting the $800+ dollars raised this go-around with a fellow server. 

See More: A Guide to Food Trucks in Hoboken + Jersey City

Follow Krista for great Hoboken food content, and to see who she tips next through the Venmo Challenge. And, if you’re curious how the over-tipping normally goes down, you can check out previous Venmo Challenge excursions via Krista’s highlights on Instagram. 

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Nicole is a born and bred Jersey girl. Originally from Bergen County, she's called Jersey City home since 2016. After years of working in NYC at marketing agencies for big brands, her entrepreneurial spirit led her to turn her side hustle {supporting local businesses as a writer and social media strategist} into her day job. An all-around champion for small businesses, Nicole loves to shop, eat, drink, and share all things local to New Jersey on her Instagram page, @heynicoleraye. When she isn't curating content or networking, she can be found exploring NJ neighborhoods with her college sweetheart, whipping up a home-cooked meal, planning a get-together for her friends, redecorating her apartment, rooting for her favorite teams (go NJ Devils!), or plotting her next adventure.


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