CHStoday is working to keep you updated on the latest local news, announcements, + resources related to the COVID-19 pandemic. To find more of our coverage, click here. For a list of general COVID-19 relief fundraisers, click here.
Tomorrow will mark one month since Gov. Henry McMaster ordered all restaurants to close their dining areas. According to an estimate from the College of Charleston, about two-thirds of the city’s tourism-related jobs have since been lost.
Many local bars + restaurants have begun asking for the community’s support during this time. Some businesses are even promising pretty sweet perks to those who donate today – from a year’s worth of bar tabs to a free bowling party – that can be redeemed when this is over.
If you’re able to help but don’t know where to begin, we’ve got a list of restaurant relief funds and other ways you can lend a hand right now. Plus: This list also includes several opportunities for hospitality employees who are out of work due to the pandemic.
Businesses offering perks for donors
Proof offers a “Golden Ticket” for chance to win a $100 bar tab every day for a year
Proof launched a “Golden Ticket” raffle, where donors can get the chance to win a $100 per day tab for one calendar year (excluding holidays and private parties). Golden Ticket recipients will also get access to special events, as well as a “first in line” pass. Tickets are non-transferable, so you’ll have to be present in order to redeem it. Tabs will not apply to pop-up food offerings.
The Golden Ticket was launched for just $30, but has since gone up to $50. Proceeds from the tickets will be used to reopen the bar, rehire employees, and restock the bar.
Support The Alley today, get a free bowling party later on
The Alley launched an employee relief fund via GoFundMe. 100% of the donations will go to its employees for their immediate needs and well-being.
They’re hoping to raise $45,000. Until they reach that goal, The Alley will give everyone who donates $50 or more a bowling party for 12 people (a $180 value).
Bid on a trip to Mexico and more through the Mex 1 Love Crew Support Fund Auction
Mex 1 Coastal Cantina is auctioning off unique experiences, and 100% of proceeds will go directly to their staff (95% of whom have been temporarily laid off) to help with family needs, living expenses, and medical bills.
Here’s some of what’s up for bid: free tacos for a year, a tequila dinner for 6, a private NYE party at Mex 1 Sullivan’s Island, and even a trip to Mexico for 2 to help Mex 1 pick out their next barrel of tequila. Bidding ends Tuesday, May 5.
Uptown Social’s “Pledge a Pizza” program
Uptown Social is asking supporters to pledge a pizza. A $25 donation will get you one pizza (redeemable within 30 days of the restaurant’s reopening). A $50 donation will get you 2 pizzas and a free ticket to their grand opening party, which will have an open bar. $100 will get you 4 pizzas and two tickets to the party.
Fleet Landing fund features raffle with big ticket prizes
Fleet Landing launched a GoFundMe to support its team members. For every $25 you donate, you will receive a virtual raffle ticket for a weekly giveaway. Past weeks’ prizes have included swag bags and a $100 bar tab, and a dinner for four with wine pairings.
Funds that directly support employees
Buy a gift card to support O-Ku, Indaco, Oak Steakhouse, and the Macintosh staff
With every Indigo Road gift card purchase, the restaurant group will donate 100% of proceeds to its Indigo Road Employee Relief Fund. Buy a gift card to help now, and enjoy it later at any of Indigo Road’s restaurants.
Donate to support health insurance coverage for employees of FIG and The Ordinary
A GoFundMe campaign for The Ordinary and FIG was established to provide financial relief for employees. The top priority of the fund will be to continue to support employees’ health insurance coverage. So far, enough has been raised to do this through the month of May.
Financial relief fund for Zero George and Wild Common employees
Easton Porter Group launched a GoFundMe to support laid-off employees so they will be able to feed and shelter their families during this crisis. 100% of donations will be distributed directly and equally to those employees across all Easton Porter Group properties, including Zero George hotel; Zero Restaurant + Bar, and Wild Common.
SC Hospitality Employee Relief COVID-19 Fund
The South Carolina Restaurant and Lodging Association, alongside Scofflaw Brewing Co., created the SC Hospitality Employee Relief COVID-19 Fund to provide grants to industry employees who have either lost wages or employment as a result of COVID-19.
○ Click here to apply to receive funding. Note: The application process to receive funds is currently closed, but may reopen if further funding becomes available.
Coastal Community Foundation’s COVID-19 Relief & Recovery Fund
Donations will provide flexible resources to Charleston + eight other Lowcountry counties. Priority groups include senior citizens, children, health-compromised + hospitality and tourism industry workers.
Causes that provide meals to those in need
Butcher and Bee providing grocery bags for out of work F&B employees
Donations from Butcher and Bee’s Pay it Forward campaign (launched alongside Red Clay Hot Sauce) will be used to provide grocery bags for out of work F&B employees.
A $10 donation will support the purchase of one grocery bag, which includes a dozen eggs, baked goods and produce.
Feed the Fight feeds healthcare workers while supporting restaurants
Feed the Fight is a new nonprofit organization that simultaneously supports local restaurants and healthcare workers.
Donors can contribute via the organizations’ GoFundMe page. Money collected through the fund will be used to order takeout from local restaurants and then deliver it to healthcare workers.
Full Belly, Full Hearts provides free meals for laid off workers
Charleston Hospitality Group created the “Full Belly, Full Hearts” campaign to provide free, hot meals for hospitality workers, healthcare workers, and their families. It’s employing about 15% of its paid hospitality workers to help serve and prepare meals.
Breakfast, lunch, and dinner is available at Toast (all four locations) from 8 a.m.-8 p.m. daily for pick-up or delivery. One meal per person, per day.
Lewis BBQ providing 100 free meals for unemployed F&B workers weekly
Every Thursday, Lewis BBQ will serve 100 free meals to unemployed workers. Workers can order the special online each Thursday using the code ‘CHSstrong’ and pick it up between 2-4 p.m. Check their Instagram page to see the meal that’s on special, and be sure to bring a pay stub with you to redeem it.
Charleston, SC Hospitality Workers Fund provides grocery money for hospitality workers
SouthernEagle Distributing recently teamed up with several other companies to launch the Charleston, SC Hospitality Workers Fund. The fund provides $50 e-gift cards for Holy City hospitality workers of all levels and roles to spend on groceries.
Sorghum and Salt launches fund to support restaurant, feed unemployed workers
Sorghum and Salt, in partnership with Grow Food Carolina, created a GoFundMe to raise money for ingredients and staffing so that it can 50 unemployed hospitality employees a day.
○ If you are an unemployed hospitality worker and would like to request a meal, call the restaurant at 843-872-6393 between 5-7 p.m.
Feeding Our Heroes purchases meals from local restaurants to feed hospital workers
A group of volunteers formed Feeding Our Heroes and are coordinating lunches + dinners from local restaurants to feed MUSC, ECMC, and Roper staff.
FLAG Charleston purchases meals from local restaurants to feed hospital workers
FLAG Charleston raises funds through donations, typically $10-$20, but any amount is greatly appreciated. The money is used to purchase meals through our local restaurants partners to be distributed to the front line workers. Donations are accepted through Venmo.
The Brooks Foundation purchases meals from local restaurants to feed hospital workers
The Brooks Foundation accepts donations via Venmo and uses the money to purchase meals from local restaurants that it delivers to frontline workers.
Merch and Gift Cards
○ “Uptown Social Distancing” t-shirts are being sold for $30. All profits from the sale of the shirts will directly benefit the resident musicians who perform weekly at Uptown Social. Purchase a shirt here.
○ The student association at the Culinary Institute of Charleston is selling t-shirts for $20-23. $10 from every shirt sold will support local workers in the hospitality and culinary industries who have been affected by COVID-19. Purchase a shirt or make a monetary donation here.
○ The Midnight Society is selling five custom digital wallpapers that each support a different local restaurant. The wallpapers are available for sale starting at $1, but shoppers can choose to pay a larger amount. 100% of the proceeds will benefit either the Early Bird Diner, Local 616, Fat Pig Brewing Company, The Sofrita Project, or Park Pizza Co., depending on which design you choose. Shop the wallpapers here.
○ Charleston-based Island Coastal Lager created a line of “Spread The Love” merchandise. 100% of profits will be donated directly to its Spread The Love Relief Fund. Shop the merchandise here. Restaurants located in states where Island Brands are sold (SC, along with AL, FL, GA, NC, TN and VA) can apply to receive financial assistance from the fund. Click here if you are a restaurant owner or manager and would like to apply.
○ Rally For Restaurants is a searchable directory for those who would like to purchase an e-gift card to their favorite restaurant that can generate income now and be redeemed later on.
○ Charleston Tip Jar is another platform that customers can use to purchase gift cards to local bars or restaurants.
Leave a virtual tip
○ Holy City Sinner put together a list of local employees + where they work so you can choose exactly who you’d like to tip. Tips can be sent through Venmo or PayPal. Employees can sign up to have their name + information added to the list.
○ Charleston-based web design company, Web Done Well, created a searchable directory of local bartenders called Tips in the Jar. You can search for your favorite bartenders and send them a tip through Venmo, PayPal, and/or CashApp. Bartenders can sign up to have their name + information added.
Other ways to help
○ Lowcountry Local First launched an “Adopt a Local Restaurant” campaign. There are two ways to participate: 1) “Adopt” your favorite local restaurant, brewery, distillery, or wine distributor by pledging to order from them a minimum of once a week (be sure to call the restaurant directly to place your order). 2) If your favorite food or beverage business has paused its operations, “adopt” them by pledging to contribute to their employee fund or virtual tip jar.
○ Hire your own private chef to help those who are currently out of work. Butcher and Bee is also launching an initiative to connect out of work chefs with people looking for private chefs. If you have the means and the interest to hire a private chef, contact Butcher and Bee and they will connect you with a local chef who can provide that service for you. Butcher and Bee does not have any financial incentive here, but is doing this to support local chefs. Click here to email Butcher and Bee about this initiative.
○ The James Beard Foundation launched a Food and Beverage Industry Relief Fund. It’s looking for individual, corporate, and foundation donors to contribute, and will use the money to provide micro-grants to independent F&B businesses across the country. Click here to make a donation. Click here if you are a restaurant owner who would like to learn more about receiving assistance from the fund.
○ Many local restaurants have teamed up to support the Independent Restaurant Coalition, an advocacy group that is calling on US lawmakers to create several changes to the CARES Act that they believe will provide increased financial relief for independent restaurants and their employees. The IRC is asking supporters to join the cause by sending an email to Congress on their behalf. Click here to learn how to get involved.
○ Shop merch from restaurants. Many restaurants offer their merch for sale on their websites.
○ Take some time to write positive reviews of your favorite restaurants on platforms like Yelp and Google.