Harvest Hope working to meet demand

April 21, 2020

In the five weeks since S.C. Gov. Henry McMaster ordered schools, restaurants and non-essential businesses to remain closed due the COVID-19 pandemic, Harvest Hope Food Bank of the Pee Dee has been working hard to meet increasing demands while also seeing a significant decrease in donations from many of its regular contributors.

“We are working hard,” said Harvest Hope Food Bank of the Pee Dee Executive Director Nicole Echols. “This thing has effected everybody, so we understand the inability of some to not be able to contribute like they have been. At the same time, we are tremendously grateful for the corporate partners that have stepped up in a big way to help us meet the needs of a great many people.”

Echols said the food bank has seen a 50 percent decrease from retailers who regularly contributed before the pandemic. To help offset the reduction, several large businesses have made large contributions, including Duke Energy, which made a $100,000 donation, and McCall Farms, which donated one million servings of canned goods. Echols said contributions from Ruiz Foods and Honda of South Carolina have also made a significant impact. “I can’t imagine where we would be without them,” she said.

Echols said she has been amazed at generosity shown of some individuals.

“We had a gentleman come in and give us the entire stimulus check he and his wife had received, all $2,400,” Echols said. “He didn’t want any attention. All he wanted to do was help out. I was blown away.”

Harvest Hope of the Pee Dee serves eight counties - Chesterfield, Clarendon, Darlington, Dillon, Florence, Lee, Marlboro and Marion. The food bank doesn’t deal directly with families, but with partnering agencies that serve individuals and families within their communities. Community food banks at local churches and soup kitchens are examples of partnering agencies.

Echols said that since Gov. McMaster issued the stay at home order on April 6, half of 166 agencies that helped the food bank distribute food have not been able to do so. Most of them are in smaller communities. She said the food bank is working to find other organizations willing to help in getting food to people in need. She hopes that once the stay-at-home order has been lifted that some of the partnering agencies will be able to get back to distributing food.

Harvest Hope Food Bank of the Pee Dee is located adjacent to the Pee Dee Farmer’s Market at 2513 West Lucas Street. Contact the food bank by phone at (843) 661-0826 or visit online at

Source: The News Journal