The program Connect for Good GVL announced last week it received a $500,000 grant from Greenville County CARES Act funding while also noting the organization had provided thousands of meals to those in need in the Greenville area.

Originally, the program began as a way for software company Advoco to keep its commitment to caterer Table 301 after having to cancel an event due to COVID-19. Connect for Good GVL is now a partnership among Advoco, nonprofit organizations, and restaurants in the area. The nonprofit euphoria will soon manage the program as it organizes activities for the grant award.

This significant collaboration brings together resources to manage supply-chain logistics, distribution, budget, restaurant partners, volunteers, and meal recipients.

Restaurants participating in the program are compensated for food along with labor costs, allowing employees to be kept on staff as the pandemic’s economic toll still takes effect.

While the half-million-dollar grant seems like a lot, euphoria’s executive director, Morgan Allen, says the money is being used pretty fast.

“We put out over 5,200 meals last week, and this week, we’re putting out 6,500 meals,” says Allen. Meals cost between $6 to $12 each. Allen says they’ve already distributed more than 30,135 meals.

The meals vary, says Table 301 chef Morgan Knight: “A lot of what we’ve done has been like a sandwich meal, and it’s a sandwich, cookie, a bag of chips and then some sort of fruit. We try and get it well rounded — a little bit of sweet and some something healthy in there.”

They’ve also provided pasta bakes and enchiladas, keeping in mind food safety and what can travel well.

“The funds are going through pretty quickly. I mean, we’re looking at spending $70,000-$80,000 every week for the next six weeks to get through these funds,” she says.

Allen adds that euphoria is looking to apply for further funding to round out the year for the program. “To have this collaborative effort from all sides is the only way we’re going to be able to move forward, especially after the six weeks, because that’s really going to be the hard part, continuing the program,” says Allen. “It’s definitely all hands on deck.”

“I would say the dream is, how do we continue this with the restaurants and the community and get more people involved?” says Marty Osborn, partner at Advoco.

Greenville Journal