DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – A group of Miami Valley chefs furloughed by the coronavirus pandemic are putting their skills to work by feeding people in need.
As many restaurants had to close their doors, Amanda DeLotelle and her coworkers were laid off, until Chef Matt DeAngelo approached her with an idea.
“He said why don’t we take our friends, and take ourselves who are now out of work, and do something about this,” DeLotelle said.
They formed a group called SBT Chefs through Dayton nonprofit Set the Banquet Table.
Set the Banquet Table was founded in 2015 by Bill Evans as an organization for chefs and bakers to raise money to fight food insecurity in the Miami Valley.
SBT Chefs is a pilot project for the nonprofit that lends a hand to organizations that provide meals to people in the area.
“All of these different places that have allowed us to do what we do best, and that’s use our skills quickly and efficiently to prep food,” DeLotelle said, who now serves as the executive director of SBT Chefs.
One of the organizations they help is St. Vincent de Paul.
Director of food service operations Jeff Blumer said when the pandemic began, they found themselves in need of chefs who could help.
“We were getting an enormous amount of donations, a spike in donations, because all these restaurants suddenly closed,” Blumer said.
SBT Chefs are taking the donated food and preparing it into bulk meals that can be served later on, so the fresh food donations don’t go to waste.
“A lot of places have had to close their doors, so knowing that we’re open, it makes me feel really good that we have another place to send those items and we know that they’ll get utilized,” Blumer said.
SBT Chefs will begin preparing food five days a week at St. Vincent de Paul on Monday.
“To have a meal that feels like somebody put love into it and they cared about it, I think that makes a difference,” DeLotelle said.
The group has 10 chefs that work in groups of about four to prepare food and maintain social distancing.
SBT Chefs have helped with other organizations like Declare, Hall hunger Initiative and House of Bread.
They all started as volunteers, but now the nonprofit is being funded by the Miami Valley Community Action Partnership through care dollars.
DeLotelle said this is just they beginning, they hope that even after the pandemic is over, they can continue their mission here in the Miami Valley.