Charleston Chefs "Feed the Need"

Thursday April 16, 2009

The economic downturn and tightening economy has had an impact around the world with budget cuts reaching from international to national to local and community levels. Charleston Place Hotel, one of Orient-Express' most esteemed properties, is rolling out a new initiative to bring together local restaurants and Chefs to help combat hunger and "Feed the Need." The first meal of the initiative will be served at the Tricounty Family Ministries by Charleston Grill restaurant at the Charleston Place Hotel on Wednesday April 22nd.

Many cities around the U.S. have experienced a rise in need for local food banks and aid; however with the budget cuts, local charities are not able to support this need. Spearheaded by General Manager Mickey Bakst of Charleston Grill at the Charleston Place Hotel, Charleston Chefs Feed the Need, is a coalition of 52 restaurants, caterers and hoteliers who have rallied to help feed the hungry and assist local emergency food providers as they face budget cuts and increasing demands.

Beginning April 22, 2009, soup kitchens throughout Charleston will serve more than 20,000 meals prepared by top local chefs over the coming year. Mickey Bakst, Executive Chef Michelle Weaver and the staff at Charleston's famed Charleston Grill restaurant at the Charleston Place Hotel will kick off the initiative where each week one participant will donate food and labor for 400 free meals served in coordination with four local nonprofits Tricounty Family Ministries, East Cooper Meals on Wheels, Crisis Ministries and Neighborhood House-on a rotating schedule to be administered by the Lowcountry Food Bank.

"As more and more jobs and homes are lost, an increasing number of people nationwide - many of them families with children - are struggling with the economic downturn and turning to food shelters that are consistently being forced to shut down because of budget restraints. We as members of the hospitality industry, that welcomes many to our city daily, need to help in any way that we can to continue to support our community," said General Manager of Charleston Grill at Charleston Place, Mickey Bakst, who created the idea for Feed the Need after learning that a budget crunch had forced Crisis Ministries to close its soup kitchen once a week and hopes this initiative will be carried out in other cities.

Paul Stracey, General Manager of Charleston Place Hotel and Managing Director of Orient-Express Hotels in North America, comments on the initiative saying "We will make every effort to help the hungry - a growing problem facing our country today. Feed the Need is a strong community initiative that we hope to roll out through our other U.S. based properties, and encourage others to emulate in cities across the United States and even around the world."

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