Pay It Forward Charleston, a nonprofit organization that started during the pandemic to address the needs of local food and beverage workers, has announced a new board of directors that’s committed to delivering $100,000 in the form of emergency grants in 2021. Food and beverage employees who have worked in Charleston for an average of 30 hours per week for at least six months can now apply for a grant online.
The organization started last spring when a volunteer team from Butcher & Bee partnered with nonprofit Feed the Need to distribute grocery bags to out-of-work F&B workers. After delivering 11,250 bags during the pandemic, Pay It Forward is ready for its next iteration.
This year, Pay It Forward hopes to raise $100,000, which it will then distribute to food and beverage industry workers on a case-by-case basis. Executive director Carrie Larson is leading the group’s day-to-day operations and Butcher & Bee/The Daily chief of staff Tara Pate will serve as the organization’s marketing and events committee chair.
Contributions from Home Team BBQ, Indigo Road and the Hall Management Group have given Pay It Forward a good head start towards reaching its fundraising goal, Pate said.
“We had tremendous support from the restaurant community, which blew us away because we wanted to support the restaurant industry,” said Pate, who added that two pieces will drive Pay It Forward fundraising efforts moving forward.
“We hope to partner with food and beverage verticals,” said Pate, describing small food and beverage-related companies like Red Clay Hot Sauce — which contributed to Pay It Forward in 2020 — that she hopes will donate a percentage of profits to the cause. “The second piece is that we do hope once events come full circle again that we will have an annual event.”
Pay It Forward also named its initial board members: Michael Shemtov, Flo Languell, S.C. Rep. J.A. Moore, D-Hanahan, Jai Jones, Marie Stitt, Stephanie Burt and Steve Palmer.