Demand for help increasing at Lowcountry food banks
NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Though the health impacts of the pandemic are not as prominent as they once were, the economic impact still lingers.
Representatives of the Lowcountry Food Bank said demand has ticked up following the end of pandemic-era enhanced benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program in South Carolina last month. Inflation also continues to be an issue.
“People don’t pay for their food until after they’ve paid for housing, their electric bill, those types of things,” Chief Development Officer Brenda Shaw said. “It truly is kind of a domino effect.”
Shaw said the food bank is averaging about 600 people per month. At the end of last year, it was about 400 people.
Those numbers are significantly down from the height of the pandemic, where they were serving more than 1,000 people each month. But it’s still much higher than pre-pandemic levels of 100 people each month, Shaw said.
Inflation is impacting not just food bank clients, but also donors. Food and transportation costs are up, Shaw said, which means donations are not going as far as they once did.
Despite these concurring factors, the Food Bank, which is about to celebrate its 40th anniversary, said it is here for the long haul.
“We would love to be able to put ourselves out of a job, but we also want people to know that we are going to be here,” Shaw said. “We are a strong organization, and we are here to serve the people of coastal South Carolina.”
The Lowcountry Food Bank raised $550,000 dollars for childhood hunger programs at an event earlier this week. They say their goal is to decrease food insecurity in coastal South Carolina communities by 25% over the next five years.
To donate money, food, or your time, visit https://lowcountryfoodbank.org/.
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