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Help Fight Summer HungerMay 16, 2017
Imagine you’re a child on the last day of school. It’s lunch time and you’re listening to friends talk about plans for the summer, the camps they’re going to, maybe a trip to a theme park. But, as you look down at your plate, you’re not thinking about roller coasters, road trips, or fun; you’re thinking this could be your last lunch for two and a half months.
For all too many children in South Carolina, summer is not a carefree time of relaxation and sleeping late, but a time of hunger. Across our state, nearly 60% of children are on free or reduced lunch, according to the SC Department of Education. When summer comes, these children, and their families, face increased stress on already stretched food budgets.
When summer comes, Harvest Hope sees thousands of more families each week as parents, and grandparents, struggle to feed children in their care. We see as much as a 40% increase in families served at our emergency food pantries and through our agency partners.
These are families with parents who are working, sometimes event two or three jobs, but who struggle to make ends meet. They’re faced with terrible choices. Do I feed my family or pay the car payment? Can I skip my medication to stretch it a little farther so I don’t have to skip dinner tonight? If I buy groceries and push the light bill back, will we be cut off?
This summer, Harvest Hope is excited to announce that we’re greatly expanding our Kid’s Café program. We’ll be providing hot meals to more than 300 children a day at sites around our territory. The Kid’s Cafés aren’t just a place for kids to get food. They’re a source of stability and mentorship for children who can be facing difficult home lives.
That’s why your help is so critical. When you donate to Harvest Hope, you’re not just providing a meal, you’re providing hope. It doesn’t take a huge gift to make a lasting impact on a child’s life. It only takes $250 to sponsor a child at a Kid’s Café for the entire summer. Most of us will spend that on our lunches in a month. You can sponsor a child for a month for just $100. Your gifts matter to those in need. To donate and give a family hope, simply click here.
Highlighting Ms. Patricia Moore-Pastides: 2017 Michael J. Mungo Humanitarian Award HonoreeMarch 07, 2017
The Michael J. Mungo Humanitarian Award is presented to an individual, or individuals, who have shown the same fierce dedication to laying the foundation of a stronger community that was displayed by Mr. Mungo, the award’s namesake.
Michael J. Mungo, one of the founders and strongest advocates of Harvest Hope Food Bank, knew the struggles of growing up without a reliable food source. With such experience and determination, Mr. Mungo worked tirelessly to ensure that others who faced hunger were able to receive help.
Like Mr. Mungo, recipients of this award have exhibited remarkable devotion to helping the hungry through volunteerism, advocacy, education, and to constructing a community framework to help those in need. We’re proud to recognize Ms. Moore-Pastides, a noteworthy South Carolinian with the same dedication to improve the community as Mr. Mungo.
Ms. Patricia Moore-Pastides, the First Lady of the University of South Carolina, is an accomplished public health professional and author of two nationally recognized award-winning books.
In addition, Patricia was the driving force behind the foundation of The Gamecock Pantry, a Harvest Hope agency partner. The goal of the pantry, located on central campus, is to serve the USC campus community by providing food aid and to provide resources to enhance the community’s overall well-being.
With a passion for healthy cooking, personal health education, Ms. Moore-Pastides also teaches Mediterranean cooking classes at Columbia's Cooking, an interactive community cooking program offered by the University's Cancer Prevention and Control Program. She also teaches Healthy Mediterranean Cooking at USC in the department of Hospitality, Retail and Sports Management. She speaks to groups of all ages statewide to promote the traditional Mediterranean diet to improve health.
She cultivates an organic vegetable garden to provide food for university events and the Healthy Carolina Farmers’ Market and works closely with the Campus Wellness Committee.
With royalties from her books, she supports health and sustainability initiatives on campus including vegetable gardens across the USC system. Her hope is that all 13 campuses will eventually grow vegetables together with community partners in an effort to fight food deserts in urban and rural South Carolina.
For her dedication to using hands-on education to encourage healthy lifestyles and outstanding contributions to on-campus and community wellness programs, we’re honored to recognize Ms. Patricia Moore-Pastides for her work around South Carolina. Your dedication to neighbors who are hungry or in need reflect the same values of Michael J. Mungo, and we’re thankful to have a humanitarian like you within our community.
Please join us to honor Ms. Patricia Moore-Pastides in-person at our 36th Annual Harvest Hope Gala next week, March 10th at 6 pm.
Pack2Feed Needs Help!February 08, 2017
When you live in a rural area, the struggles of food insecurity are magnified. Grocery stores can be miles away. Public transportation is basically non-existent. Prices at corner markets can be high. Jobs are scarce. All of these factors combine to make life even more difficult for families who are already struggling.
That's why the Harvest Hope Food Bank Pack2Feed program is so important to communities across South Carolina. To help those in need who are unable to reach our emergency food pantries or partner agencies, we dispatch trucks with pre-packed boxes of food to help remote families and populations ensure that no child faces an empty plate, that no parent has to choose between their own meal and a child’s, and that no senior has to choose between food and medical care.
However, this program is not cheap to run. Each box contains 21 meals, and we distribute more than 5,000 boxes a month. That’s 105,000 meals going to the most isolated and insecure communities in our state. In rural counties, it’s not uncommon to see child hunger rates as high as 30%, meaning one in three children will miss at least one meal a month.
That’s why we need businesses to help sponsor our Pack2Feed program. For amounts from $1,000 a month to sponsor 100 boxes, all the way up to $50,000 to fully fund the program, there are many ways for a business to help those in need. What’s more, the program offers great team building opportunities, as employees have the opportunity to come together at our facility and pack the boxes.
The Pack2Feed program has a presence in 20 counties ranging all the way from Greenville to Dillon County and is a wonderful opportunity for a company to show compassion and care for the most vulnerable residents of our state. If you would like more information, give Harvest Hope Food Bank a call at 803-254-4432 and ask for Chuck Backman.