Lowcountry Food Bank unites broadcasters for 24-hour relief fund drive

Lowcountry Food Bank unites broadcasters for 24-hour relief fund drive
Drive-thru food distribution models were created to protect LCFB partner agencies and food pantries, LCFB neighbors in need, volunteers and employees. (Source: Lowcountry Food Bank)

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Nine television and radio broadcasters, including WCSC-TV, are working together Thursday to meet a $50,000 fundraising goal for the Lowcountry Food Bank.

#UnitedforLCFB is a 24-hour campaign to raise funds to help the Lowcountry Food Bank fight hunger with monetary donations. In addition to four Lowcountry television stations, radio companies Cumulus Media Charleston, Charleston Radio Group, iHeart Media Charleston, Kirkman Broadcasting, and LM Communications are participating.

CLICK HERE to donate to the relief effort.

The 24-hour drive has a goal of raising $50,000 for the Lowcountry Food Bank's food relief fund.
The 24-hour drive has a goal of raising $50,000 for the Lowcountry Food Bank's food relief fund. (Source: Live 5)

The COVID-19 pandemic is creating a tremendous increase in the demands on the Food Bank and its partner agencies and food pantries. The LCFB has expensed more than $500,000 on food and transportation in the last few weeks alone.

More than 173,700 people, including 51,510 children, face hunger every day in coastal South Carolina. These numbers will only increase as the COVID-19 pandemic persists.

"With school closures, job disruptions and COVID-19's disproportionate impact on the elderly and low-income families, we know these numbers are growing daily," LCFB President and CEO Pat Walker said. "This is the first time that all of the food banks across the country are dealing with a disaster relief situation at the same time. Sourcing food is becoming difficult. All of these factors increase our costs, and it is critical that we can continue to implement our programs that feed seniors, children, families, veterans and individuals in need of healthy food."

In the last two weeks of March since the COVID-19 pandemic began, the LCFB distributed a total of more than 800,000 meals and more than 960,000 pounds of food through its partner agencies. During this same time period, 30% of the LCFB's total food distribution has been comprised of fresh fruits and vegetables. The following points illustrate the increased demand on the LCFB during the last two weeks of March alone.

  • A 379% increase in the number of people who come to the Food Bank for emergency food assistance.
  • 15% of the 300 LCFB partner agencies and food pantries that deliver food directly to clients are closed, creating fewer locations for those in need to find food.
  • A 43% increase in new clients at LCFB agency partners and food pantries.
  • The distribution of more than 12,000 disaster food boxes.
  • The distribution of more than 13,000 BackPacks to children who depend on free school breakfast and lunch meals that are not currently available because of school closures.
  • A 200% increase on the “Find Help” LCFB web page that provides an agency or food pantry location near a person’s home.

"Local broadcasters wanted to join this effort, without hesitation, to help feed our neighbors who are struggling in this difficult time," Live 5 WCSC Marketing Director Amanda Curry said.

In March, the LCFB quickly adjusted its business model due to drastic declines in retail food donations, social distancing limitations on volunteer efforts, and the need for low-contact distributions. Drive-thru food distribution models were created to protect LCFB partner agencies and food pantries, LCFB neighbors in need, volunteers and employees.

The LCFB also increased its already stringent food safety and safe handling practices to include social distancing and additional sterilization procedures as recommended by the CDC.

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