2012-03-23 / News

Buy groceries; feed the hungry

Contributed by Food from the Heart

One in six South Carolina families goes hungry every night. Over the last year, Harvest Hope has served over 48,000 people a week throughout 20 counties. The largest single day food drive for Harvest Hope “Food From the Heart” takes place this Saturday, March 24 in Richland and Lexington Counties.

The fourth annual “Food From the Heart” food drive will be held on Saturday, March 24, 2012 at participating local grocery stores in Richland and Lexington Counties. This local mission food drive organized and worked by Shandon Baptist Church and Northside Baptist will have members outside stores to offer shoppers the opportunity to take a red “Food from The Heart” grocery bag and participate by purchasing as few or as many products off a list of suggested items. The bags will be collected outside the stores and taken to Harvest Hope Food Bank where church volunteers will sort the items. They will be distributed to local food pantries and soup kitchens. One hundred percent of all goods collected will benefit men, women, and children in the Midlands.

The need is greater than ever. Harvest Hope has seen a 25% increase in service to families over the last year throughout 20 counties. They served almost one million families last year. Suggested food items to be collected are rice, beans, stuffing, dry potatoes, dry milk, cereals, grits, diapers, infant Tylenol, canned fruits and vegetables, soup, pasta and sauces, baby food in shrink wrapped packages, baby formula, and personal hygiene products.

Shandon Baptist members will be volunteering in 24 Richland County stores with a minimum of 350 volunteers and expects to collect a minimum of 30 tons of food with a goal of 32 tons. Northside Baptist Church will be collecting food from 23 Lexington County stores with over 300 volunteers and expects to also collect between 30 to 32 tons of food.

In South Carolina over 17% of the population live in poverty. Unemployment in South Carolina is currently at 9.30% and ninth in the nation for unemployment. Despite an increase in need that has continued for over four years, Harvest Hope has found ways to step up their output and make sure they turn away no one who is hungry. Harvest Hope provided the Hope of food to over 260 families a day at their Emergency Food Pantries in February and ten percent of those were coming to Harvest Hope for the first time. Most of those coming to Harvest Hope directly for help visit just three times in the course of a year. For many, those few visits get them through a tough or uncertain time until they can restore balance to their lives.

WLTX TV and WMHK radio are the local media sponsors. For more information please contact Jerry Long at (803) 782-1300 ext 104 or Steve Allen at (803) 796-9786 or you can visit the church websites ( www.shandon.org or www.northsidebaptist.org ) for a list of participating stores.

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