CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) -East Cooper Community Outreach in Mount Pleasant is launching a new program to help better serve the community through its wellness food pantry.
Over the last year, the outreach organization says they have seen a rise in both first-time and returning clients asking for help. They say they are implementing a new online food ordering system called SmartChoice, to reach more people.
ECCO say SmartChoice food pantry software allows ECCO clients to go online and select the groceries that they need from the pantry.
ECCO Director of Programs Kathleen Forbes says they are the first client-choice food pantry in South Carolina, and now they are also the first to use this SmartChoice software.
Over the last year, Forbes says they’ve served anywhere from 30 to 90 households a day by organizing pre-packed food giveaways through their drive-thru area.
Forbes says the new online program follows the same model as placing a grocery order online and going to pick it up. She says the new program helps ECCO keep an inventory of what foods they need and what are the most popular.
“Now we can actually see how many people are ordering what items,” Forbes said. “And so that really helps us from a budgetary standpoint as well so that we are using those dollars that are contributed to us and buying the things that our clients are most seeking.”
Forbes says not only are they are always welcoming new clients, but this program is free and people who sign-up could go home with groceries the same day.
“It takes a lot of courage to ask for help and to walk through our doors and because we are not in a place right now where clients are easily coming in and out of our doors, this allows people to be able to ask for help, but not have to come in and do it,” Forbes said.