Connect for Good GVL, a program that provides free meals to those impacted by COVID-19, has surpassed a 20,000 meals milestone and received a substantial grant from Greenville County CARES, in conjunction with euphoria, to expand its footprint. Connect for Good GVL began as a way for Advoco to honor a catering commitment with Table 301 due to a COVID-canceled event. This initiative has grown from providing and delivering 500 meals per week to over 5,000 meals per week.
The huge boost in meals served jumped considerably this week with the award of a $500,000 grant through Greenville County CARES, a COVID-19 federal funding program. Greenville County CARES awarded Local Boys Do Good (DBA euphoria), a 501(c)3, with the funds to expand the Connect for Good GVL program. This collaboration provides a pool of resources to manage the supply-chain logistics, distribution, budget, restaurant partners, volunteers, and meal recipients.
To date, Connect for Good GVL has supplied 23,626 total meals. More than 30 non-profit organizations and community groups throughout Greenville received 18,370 meals through corporate and individual donations totaling $48,731, and another 5,256 meals are being distributed this week as a result of the Greenville County CARES grant. Donor recipients include Mill Village Farms, Trinity Lutheran Church / Towers East Apartments, Greenville Rescue Mission / Miracle Hill Ministries, Triune Mercy Center, Project Host, Safe Harbor, YouthBase, Ronald McDonald House Charities, Bon Secours Health System, Prisma Health System, Soteria, Greenville Police Department and Greenville County Sheriff’s Office, United Ministries, YMCA / motel distribution, Greenville City Fire Department, Carlyle Senior Care of Fountain Inn, The Family Effect, Neighborhood Focus, Upstate Warrior Solution, Fellow Countrymen, Simpsonville Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center, Greenville Post Acute, Pleasant Valley, Mental Health America, Veteran’s Last Patrol, Young Life / Young Lives, Poe Mill Achievement Center, Long Branch Baptist Church, Capital Senior Living, and Greenville County Schools Food and Nutrition Services.
“When Connect for Good GVL originally began, we had a goal of feeding 2,000 people with our COVID-impacted catering partner, Table 301,” said Marty Osborn, partner at Advoco. He continued, “Here we are, 30 weeks later, blessed with private and public donations, and able to spread smiles, one meal at a time. To serve these organizations and see faces light up and lives impacted is a joy that is hard to explain.” Lastly, Osborn said, “I can’t say enough about working side-by side with Carl Sobocinski and his Table 301 team. They have been creative in saving jobs, creating cost-efficient meals, and delivering quality product to the community week after week.”
The Greenville County CARES grant application was fueled by a desire to:
- expand the Connect for Good GVL program and serve more people impacted by COVID-19 in the Greenville community,
- funnel business to multiple struggling restaurants hampered by occupancy limits and the absence of holiday parties,
- boost the local farmers and suppliers from whom the restaurants purchase, and
- secure jobs that would have been furloughed.
Participating restaurants will be compensated for food and labor costs which will generate consistent revenue streams and protect jobs. “We have seen firsthand how the industry has taken a direct hit due to COVID-19, and many are bracing for what is about to be an even harder winter without the usual holiday parties and corporate outings that generate so much revenue,” says euphoria executive director Morgan Allen. She continued, “Connect for Good GVL aligns perfectly with our mission to support and shine a spotlight on Greenville’s food & beverage scene while also giving back to the community. With this grant, we can continue supporting these local restaurants and use our collective resources to better our community.”
The newest – and also largest – meal partnership is with Greenville County Schools Food and Nutrition Services. Connect for Good GVL will source, prep, and deliver — through a restaurant partner — more than 3,300 “take and bake” meals per week to participating children at nine Title I elementary schools. The meals will be labeled and sent home on weekends beginning this week.
With the additional funding and support, Connect for Good GVL aims to deliver in excess of 50,000 total meals to the community by the end of 2020. Vendors supplying meals for the program include Table 301 Restaurant Group, Larkin’s Restaurants, The Habitap, Grits & Groceries, The Cook’s Station, Fork and Plough, West End Events at Fluor Field, Jianna, Nard’s Backyard BBQ, and Bobby’s BBQ.
Greenville Rescue Mission director, David Hanna, commented, “Greenville Rescue Mission is grateful to receive the support of Connect for Good during this challenging period of COVID-19. Our guests really appreciate the quality meals provided.” He continued, “We depend on donations to care for the people God sends to us, and this program helps us offer adequate nutrition to all our guests.”