Harvest Hope Food Bank makes a call for some extra hands

April 20, 2020

FLORENCE, S.C. (WPDE) — According to Feeding America, between 15 to 21% of people in the Pee Dee are worried about where they will get their next meal. This is called food insecurity. Since the start of the pandemic, more people are seeking help from banks.

For Harvest Hope Food Bank, they decided to call in an extra set of hands.

The South Carolina National Guard will now be assisting the food bank at three locations. Thirty-five troops will be split across the Florence, Columbia, and Greenville locations doing an assortment of tasks.

Some will pack boxes, others will sort orders, and some will help with the food bank's drive-in pick up service.

According to Nicole Echols, the executive director of the Pee Dee branch, as soon as the soldiers arrived at 9 a.m., their impact was immediate.

"By 10 or 11, they had packed over 200 hundred boxes so they're really packing the boxes, putting the things we need to have put in and we'll be able to get that food out to the community in a couple of days," said Echols.

The number of people serviced by Harvest Hope have tripled since the start of the pandemic.

As for the Florence location, they distribute to more than 166 partner agencies. Those still handing out food seen about a 50% increase in demand.

Now, with the help of the National Guard, they will be able to meet that demand.

According to Captain Jessica Donnelly of the National Guard, they are proud to be able to serve their community during this difficult time.

"Any time, there is an opportunity to help our neighbors. We would love to be able to support those kinds of missions," said Captain Donnelly.

As of right now, the National Guard will continue to help Harvest Hope until further notice.

Harvest Hope is always looking for volunteers or donations. For ways to contribute, you can go on their website for more information.