Harvest Hope Food Bank is facing a significant food shortage following this summer’s drought in the Midwest, prompting a plea to the community for help.
Food bank officials said the agency’s normal distribution from the USDA was reduced by 5 million pounds this year because of the drought, making it more difficult to respond to requests for food assistance throughout its 20-county service area. It comes in the wake of an increase over the past few years in families seeking assistance.
“Our normal annual distribution of USDA food is approximately 12 million pounds,” said Denise Holland, Harvest Hope’s president and chief executive officer. “The drought in the Midwest during the spring and summer months has done a great deal of damage to commercial and family owned farms from which all of our food supplies are very dependent.”
The biggest losses were in canned meat and fruit products, she said.
The food bank needs canned goods and other nonperishable foods. Items can be dropped off at the Emergency Food Pantry at 2220 Shop Road during regular weekday business hours.
Columbia residents also can drop off canned goods in one of the food bank’s Giving Cans at six Piggly Wiggly locations: 4711 Forest Drive, 3818 Devine St., 2000 Clemson Road, 7451 Garners Ferry Road, 3040 Charleston Highway, and 760 U.S. 378. Donations will be delivered to the food bank.
“With the holidays approaching and the economy still trying to recover, we continue to see families who are trying their very best to be self-sufficient but just are having a hard time,” Holland said. “Food donations and funds are needed to make sure we have ample supplies to help during difficult times.”
Monetary donations to Harvest Hope Food Bank can be made at www.harvest hope.org. For information about volunteering or to learn about holding a food drive, call (803) 254-4432, ext. 0.