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Lowcountry Strong: Nonprofit serving more people during COVID-19

Updated: Apr. 9, 2020 at 7:01 AM EDT
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JOHNS ISLAND, S.C. (WCSC) - During the COVID-19 pandemic many non-profits are serving more people than before as they make adjustments to their own programs and services.

The executive director of Our Lady of Mercy Community Outreach, Ericka Plater, said they have cut back on nonessential programs so staff can focus on the most needed programs which are food and financial services. The non-profit serves people on James, Johns and Wadmalaw Islands and also runs a soup kitchen in downtown Charleston through the program, Neighborhood House. Plater said they have certainly seen new clients.

“Most of them are individuals who have lost their jobs in the wake of COVID-19,” she said. “And we still have a large population of the elderly who are also seeing increased needs at this time."

During the pandemic, Our Lady of Mercy Community Outreach has modified the way they help clients. Food pick ups are done drive-through style and some staff have been delivering boxes of food to elderly clients.

“As long as you live on the islands we are here to help you,” Plater said.

The soup kitchen downtown, which is traditionally a place to sit down and enjoy a meal, has shifted to boxed and bag lunches people can take on-the-go.

“The community has been amazing, my staff have been amazing and my board has been amazing but we still need help,” Plater said.

There are many ways you can help Our Lady of Mercy Community of Outreach. They are looking for sandwich-making materials, especially bread and lunch meat and fresh fruit, to help with the bagged lunches downtown. Non-perishable food items can also be donated to stock their food pantry on Johns Island. Those items include: canned vegetables, cereal, canned soups and large bottles of juice. You can also financially contribute or volunteer. You can read about how to do so on their website.

If you are in need of assistance, you can call the nonprofit to get instructions. The phone number is 843-559-4109.

“In the Lowcountry there is a history of resilience and fortitude," Plater said. "I think this is another example of where we as a community show the rest of the world what community looks like.”

If you know someone or a group of people making the Lowcountry a better place during this time, you can tell us about it by filling out this form. You can also email Abbey O’Brien at aobrien@live5news.com and you might see them recognized on Live 5 News.

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