South Carolinians rise to every challenge our small, yet mighty state faces. When a hurricane threatens our coast, our residents not only get themselves ready, they also find time to help those in need. As the CEO of Harvest Hope Food Bank, I see first-hand the melting pot of people who show up to help when disaster bears down. As Hurricane Irma threatened, our people proved, once again, to be South Carolina Strong.
Harvest Hope is South Carolina’s lead emergency food bank for disaster relief. We help coordinate with the state’s other Feeding America food banks, provide the food for emergency shelters, truck ready-to-eat bags or boxes of food into areas cut off by water or damage, and support our sister food banks when their staff are victims or their facilities are compromised. It is a big job, but with the help of volunteers and donors across the state, we rise to the challenge.
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In the run-up to Irma, in our Columbia, Florence and Greenville locations, we saw some incredible South Carolinians step up in the most incredible way.
▪ Dozens of college students turned out to help pack emergency food boxes in Columbia and Greenville.
▪ State Guard members donated their time to pack food boxes the day before they deployed to the coast.
▪ Churches, individuals and companies came, called and donated food, time and money.
In nearly record time, Harvest Hope had more than 12,000 emergency food boxes/bags packed and ready to go. Our only cost was the food. While that’s expensive, it’s of little use without the proper packing. We are so thankful to the generous volunteers who helped us fulfill our mission. The disaster response task is too big for our staff alone.
I am thankful to live in a state where residents are always ready to give what they can, and I am praying for the millions of people impacted by the massive storm. I am confident future disasters will not overcome us.
CEO, Harvest Hope Food Bank