SPIRIT OF THE SEASON

RANTIN: Spirit of the Season. Tackling hunger head on

brantin@thestate.comDecember 24, 2012 

Harvest Hope Food Bank continued to offer hope and support for struggling families as it provided meals for nearly 40,000 people each week throughout its 20-county service area this past year.

The numbers were possible because of the outpouring of support from individuals, places of worship, corporations and other community organizations.

The food bank increased its children’s feeding program by 26 percent over the previous year, proving more than 37,000 after-school and weekend meals each month in the Midlands, Pee Dee, and Greater Greenville.

“Families experience hunger involving children and the elderly and they continue to be vulnerable,” said Harvest Hope chief executive officer Denise Holland. “Meeting their needs is critical and a first step in getting them back to self-sufficiency.”

Harvest Hope received some significant year-end boosts to its efforts in recent months as it received contributions from area corporations. Among those contributions:

• Verizon contributed $15,000 to provide 600 holiday meals for families. Company employees also raised 15,000 pounds of food, and volunteers helped prepare food for distribution.

“We are very proud to support Harvest Hope. The work they do in the community is so valuable and our community is very fortunate to have them,” said Tim Butler, associate director of marketing at Verizon Wireless and a Harvest Hope board member.

• Tucker Oil Co. recently donated $6,500. The money will be used for general operations.

“As a local company, we were inspired to support Harvest Hope Food Bank in order to give back to the community to help struggling families, children, and seniors,” said Tucker Oil president David Tucker.

• Bank of America employees recently helped sort and prepare food for distribution. The services were provided in conjunction with the bank’s Feeding America’s Give a Meal program, which makes a special fund-raising plea during the holidays to help combat hunger.

Food bank officials say efforts to provide food for struggling families will be ongoing, explaining that one in four children in South Carolina do not have adequate food and that one in six families must choose between paying for utilities or rent or providing food for their children.

To support the food bank, send checks to Harvest Hope Food Bank, 2220 Shop Road Columbia, SC 29201 or donate on line at www. harvesthope.org.

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