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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Wife of chef seeks assistance

Justin Klauba, then the executive chef at Scratch and Rain, is photographed in August 2018 in the dining room at Scratch. (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)
Justin Klauba, then the executive chef at Scratch and Rain, is photographed in August 2018 in the dining room at Scratch. (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)

The wife of a Spokane chef has set up a GoFundMe campaign to help raise money for her family while her husband receives medical care.

Tiffany Klauba is asking for $5,000 “to try to keep our lives afloat” while she looks for work.

On her “Klauba Family Assistance” GoFundMe page, she wrote, “My husband Justin Klauba is currently hospitalized and being treated for severe depression – something he has been battling for many years and is an unfortunate illness that plagues the culinary industry.”

According to the Mental Health America’s 2017 Workplace Wellness Report: Mind the Workplace manufacturing, retail and the food-and-beverage industries ranked worst for workplace mental health.

And, according to the World Health Organization, depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide.

Workplace stress – including long hours, job insecurity and lack of work-life balance, all common in the food-and-beverage industry – contributes to at least 120,000 deaths each year, according to 2015 research by two Stanford professors and a former Stanford doctoral student. They found the stressor with the biggest overall impact is lack of health insurance, which ranks high in increasing mortality as well as health care costs. Another big driver of early death: economic insecurity.

Tiffany Klauba noted her plea is “probably one of the hardest things I’ve had to write.” But, she said, “my family is in desperate need of assistance.”

The couple has a 2-month-old baby named Jackson.

“Justin was our soul provider – and he was great at it,” Tiffany Klauba wrote. “He is an amazing father and husband, but is now unable to work due to his in-patient treatment and the loss of his position as an executive chef due to this circumstance … Justin does not have insurance … We do not know how long he will be in treatment … The time frame doesn’t matter however, as long as he is healing and getting the support and help he needs.”

Tifffany Klauba said she is looking for employment but fears the family might lose its rental house and vehicle and worries about how to pay for food, utilities and baby supplies.

In October, Justin Klauba, then the executive chef at Scratch and Rain in downtown Spokane, was featured in a Chef Spotlight in The Spokesman-Review.

His wife is asking for help paying bills “for the last part of December, January and maybe February as I have no idea how long he will be in treatment and how quickly I can find a job or how much it will pay.”

Plus, she noted, “We also will have a mound of medical bills and rehabilitation fees that need to be taken care of. Not to mention the diapers, formula and care for our baby Jackson.”

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