Inflation is at levels not seen in 40 years, making it difficult for many to meet their daily needs.
Family Health Centers, Inc. of Orangeburg cut high grocery costs a bit on Friday by providing families with healthy foods at a promotional event.
“It means a lot to us to be a part of this,” said FHC CEO Leon Brunson Sr.
Brunson described the food giveaways as “very positive” and something FHC is grateful to be a part of.
“We have 600 people every time we open every Friday, basically,” he said.
On Friday, 600 boxes of produce and non-perishable food were distributed from the parking lot of FHC’s main site, located at 3310 Magnolia Street.
FHC has provided free food boxes to more than 1,400 families in Orangeburg and Calhoun counties since the program began in January 2022.
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Food donation is done at least twice a month at the Orangeburg and St. Matthews Family Health Center offices.
The food giveaway was made possible by a $130,000 grant from the South Carolina Department of Commerce for Orangeburg and Calhoun counties.
The grant was awarded to Harvest Hope Food Bank for its Mobile Food Pantry program.
Harvest Hope is South Carolina’s largest food bank, providing more than 20 million meals on average in the Midlands, Pee Dee and Upstate.
The grant will fund food giveaways on a monthly basis for the next year, said Chad Scott, director of development and agency relations for Harvest Hope Food Bank.
Scott said Orangeburg and Calhoun counties were selected for the food program grant because of the high rate of diabetes in the community.
“The boxes we gave out are food and products for people with this disease,” Scott said. “As we have evolved, we have realized and identified specific health needs in specific communities where we can better allocate resources to provide the best quality foods that meet that specific need.”
Katana Jones, FHC Farmers Market Manager, said, “Feeding the community is everything.
“Caring is definitely sharing. Races are high. The gas is high. Helping anyone at this point is a blessing.
FHC Outreach employee Davarsha O’Neal said the gift of food is crucial in these times.
“Grocery prices are going up,” O’Neal said. “It’s an opportunity to help the community get their groceries, not all the groceries, but some of the groceries they need to relieve them of their current difficulties.”
He said, “It feels good to be able to actually help people.”
Recipients of free food boxes must meet Commodity Supplemental Food Program income guidelines.
The Commodity Supplemental Food Program aims to improve the health of low-income families by supplementing their diets with nutritious USDA foods. The CSFP program is administered by the USDA Food and Nutrition Service.
For more information, please call 803-531-6971.