Fellow restaurateurs might not understand Carl Sobocinski, founder and president of the Table 301 Restaurant Group in Greenville, S.C. When new COVID-19 cases spiked at the end of 2020, the industry yelped loudly about having to close dining rooms for a second time. No directive was issued in Greenville, but Sobocinski shut five of his six restaurants anyway, suspending all operations for a week. Coronavirus was spreading like a fog through the market, and losing business was preferable to seeing employees and guests risk contamination.

He showed similar regard for peers. Sobocinski rallied 30 fellow restaurateurs to join Table 301 in cranking out meals for the needy at catering levels, using federal relief funds to pay workers who would otherwise be jobless. Instead of sitting idle, the restaurants cranked out 6,000 meals a week for local charities.