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7 Ways to Help Lowcountry Restaurant Workers Right Now

While restaurants can only offer takeout and delivery, many restaurant workers are currently out of work. Here’s how to help them.

Tour the Stunning Leslie Ryann McKellar

Many restaurants across Charleston continue to offer takeout and delivery during the novel coronavirus outbreak, but others are making the tough decision to close. Most recently, Jackrabbit Filly announced on Instagram that it would shut down for at least two weeks, writing, “Unfortunately, tonight will be our last night of service, and we’ll be shutting down for the next two weeks (or until future notice). As the number of people infected by this virus grows, we feel it is best for the safety of our employees and guests.”

As diners are looking for ways to support their favorite restaurant staffers, Eater Carolinas will be collecting a running list of fundraisers, staff Venmo accounts accepting virtual tips, and other opportunities to help staff weather the storm in the coming weeks or months before their restaurants reopen. Email carolinas@eater.com with any updates.

Please note that while the fundraisers and Venmo accounts listed below have all been shared by the official social media pages or known representatives of their respective restaurants, Eater cannot guarantee that each restaurant will use the money as they say they will.

This list was originally published on March 23, 2020, and is being updated periodically; the date of the most recent update appears above.

• Butcher & Bee: The group at Butcher & Bee and the Daily announced a new initiative to benefit local farmers and food and beverage workers by making provision bags available to those out of work through donations to pay the suppliers. In an email, they explained: “Today we are launching an initiative to support our purveyors and the F&B community. Red Clay Hot Sauce is graciously supporting this initiative, and you can join us to pay it forward.

For $10 you can sponsor one or more provision bags for an out of work F&B community member. Included in each bag will be a dozen eggs, baked goods and produce. We are going to provide as many of these as we can on a first come, first served basis, but to ensure we are setting an example for social distancing, please direct your out of work F&B friends to sign up via this form (https://bit.ly/FreeBagCHS). We will space out and direct pick up to ensure the safety of our volunteer staff who are leading this initiative.”

Easton Porter Group: The owners of Zero Restaurant + Bar and Wild Common wrote to Eater: “100% of donations will be distributed directly and equally to laid-off employees across Easton Porter Group properties, including Zero Restaurant + Bar and Wild Common here in Charleston, to help mitigate some of the struggles and uncertainties of the weeks ahead.” Here’s a link to the GoFundMe.

• FIG: Perennial favorite FIG decided to shut down earlier than most restaurants in Charleston. In a measure to keep employees afloat during the closure, owners Mike Lata and Adam Nemirow started a GoFundMe page, which has already garnered almost $40,000. They broke down a few cost in a compelling manner:

We appreciate donations in any amount. Here are some of the ways in which your donation can help:

$25 will help us keep the lights on

$50 will purchase 10 pounds of vegetables from our local farmers

$100 will purchase 8 local chickens or 10 pounds of local fish

$250 will feed the entire staff for one day

$395 will sponsor one employee’s health coverage for an entire month

• Indigo Road Restaurants: The group that manages O-Ku, Indaco, Oak Steakhouse, and the Macintosh laid off workers in an effort to allow them to apply for unemployment. Now they have a new initiative to help employees through the sale of gift cards:In an effort to support Indigo Road employees and their families during this difficult time, managing partner of the Indigo Road Steve Palmer has launched the Indigo Road Employee Relief Fund. To support this hard working, dedicated and passionate group of people, guests can purchase a gift card and Indigo Road will donate 100 percent of the proceeds to this fund. Purchases can be made at theindigoroad.com/giftcards.”

• The Alley: Owner of the Alley David Crowley started a GoFundMe page for employees out of work, writing, “By supporting this fund, you will be contributing directly to our 50+ employees and their basic life necessities. 100% of the donations here will go to the employees of The Alley for their immediate needs and well being.“

• Lowcountry Strong: Concentrating on Beaufort and Jasper Counties, the Lowcountry Strong Foundation paired with a local deli to form the Hungry Heart Restaurant Workers Relief Fund. This allows for food and beverage employees to pick up free meals from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. daily.

• Virtual Tip Jar: Charleston-based blog Holy City Sinner created a virtual tip jar as a way to support local service-industry workers. See the full list here. If f&b employees would like to be added to the list, click here. There’s another virtual tip jar created by someone in the food and beverage community that randomly selects who users are going to tip.

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