Mickey Bakst and Charleston Chefs Feed the Need
The National Restaurant Association had chosen Feed the Need as a cause they were going to support at the national level. The program has not moved forward. As Mickey said, some ideas are best left as a grassroots effort in local communities rather than a national campaign.
“All we need is one person in each community with energy, commitment and connections. That is the key. I don’t care how it gets done. I just want to get it done. Take it and do it if you have the tools.”
The average number of meals that each chef prepares one time a year in Charleston for Feed the Need is about 400 and the average annual cost to the restaurant is $600. The concept is that three chefs each reach out to 17 restaurants and then select three shelters in three geographical areas that are most in need and have one person to coordinate. Once set up, the coordinating effort requires little time. It is only a matter of “Finding the people in each city that are willing to do it.”
Mr. B and I are committed to seeing this program brought to areas of Atlanta and Louisville, Kentucky. A city must have sufficient scale with enough restaurants so that no one chef feels an undue burden. A city must have a feeling of connection to its people and a sense of responsibility to help others. It might seem like a perfect fit for larger cities that have any number of chefs and restaurants that would be willing to participate. However, many large cities may have competing programs or lack the tight-knit sense of community that enables chefs to come together in a cooperative fashion.
I have chosen to write about Feed the Need with the hope that some of my readers will want to sponsor this initiative in their own cities or know of someone who would be interested in organizing this program. We hope that you will consider being a catalyst to bring this program to your hometown. As Mickey said to us, “One city at a time. It is people like you that can get the word out.”
There are several simple steps to creating the Feed the Need program in your community and Mickey Bakst is willing to work with you personally to do that. Please contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
* Photographs of Mickey Bakst and Feed the Need are courtesy of Charleston Place Hotel.