Leaders from the Charleston Chapter of Les Dames D’Escoffier (LDEI) are partnering with local independent restaurants to feed healthcare workers and first responders during the coronavirus pandemic. In the two weeks since launching Vital Hospitality CHS, the philanthropic society made up of females who work in the food, beverage, and hospitality industries has delivered over 150 meals to MUSC, Roper St. Francis, and Trident personnel.

“It started with a Zoom call a month ago and since, about a dozen of us have been trying to identify the needs and coordinate with the hospitals,” says Megan Deschaine, bar manager at Doar Bros. and one of the founders of Vital Hospitality CHS. “There’s a lot of protocol to adhere to as far as safe service and ensuring that all of the procedures for the safety of the staff are respected.”

Les Dames D’Escoffier Charleston Chapter is the local arm of the international philanthropic organization of women leaders in the food, wine, and hospitality fields.

According to Deschaine, the society already had connections with MUSC, Roper, and Trident, where hospital liaisons have become the intermediary for charitable efforts. Deschaine and other members then gathered donations and used businesses within the society to start making meals. Red Orchids, Verde, Callie’s Hot Little Biscuit, Grey Ghost Bakery, Salthouse Catering, and Duvall Catering were their initial partners, but Deschaine says they are open to working with other restaurants in Charleston.

LDEI has worked with the restaurants to keep the average cost of each meal to $10, and that includes individual packaging, sanitation, and delivery to hospital facilities. By partnering with these restaurants and catering companies, the society is also helping out an industry in turmoil.

Right now, LDEI plans to max out their funds each week to supply as many meals as possible, but Deschaine says they “intend to use this platform to serve other communities in need once COVID-19 needs are less prevalent.”

To make a contribution to Vital Hospitality CHS, visit their GoFundMe page.

Stay cool. Support City Paper.

City Paper has been bringing the best news, food, arts, music and event coverage to the Holy City since 1997. Support our continued efforts to highlight the best of Charleston with a one-time donation or become a member of the City Paper Club.