Who is Harvest Hope?
Jan 4, 2022
As we move into 2022, we want to make sure you understand what we do here at Harvest Hope, so you can understand why the support of you, and our communities, is so vital. Below are the answers to some frequently asked questions that help explain what exactly food bank does, and how it is different than a food pantry.
Who is Harvest Hope?
Harvest Hope is South Carolina's largest food bank, serving an average of 23 million meals annually across the Midlands, Pee Dee, and Upstate of South Carolina. These meals are distributed with the help of over 300 partner agencies through programs like: on-site food pantries, mobile food pantries, the BackPack Program, and senior food boxes. We are dedicated to ending hunger in our state through our core values of Social Justice, Respect, Integrity, Collaboration, Innovation, Accountability, and Excellence.
What is a food bank?
While food pantries and food banks may look and seem alike, they are actually pretty different. A food pantry is a facility that provides groceries directly to hungry people in the community. A food bank collects, sorts, and distributes food to food pantries.
Here at Harvest Hope, we do both. At our Midlands and Upstate locations, we have an Emergency Food Pantry that provides food for families in need. This food pantry is what you will see when you come to get food assistance or volunteer. But we do a lot more than run our food pantry.
We distribute food to over 300 agency partners across the state. These partners then distribute food to their local communities, and help us get food to where it is needed most. This is done through four major steps:
- Food Rescue and Intake: Where we collect food from retail locations and donors.
- Inspection: We sort through all of the food to assure it is healthy and safe. Any food that does not pass inspection will not be distributed.
- Transportation: Food must be transported out to the communities who need it most. Thousands of mobile food boxes leave our facilities each month.
- Distribution: Through the different programs, food is then distributed out to our neighbors in need.
What is an Agency Partner?
Agency Partners are a valuable part of our operations, and they make it possible to reach the communities in all of the counties we serve. Our over 300 partners are also non-profit organizations who operate programs like emergency food pantries, soup kitchens, transitional homes, or afterschool programs that help South Carolinians find access to the food they need. All of our partners are 501c3 organizations that go through inspections and maintain a safe and clean place for our communities to receive food. Check our Find a Food Pantry tool to locate a partner near you.
Who does Harvest Hope serve?
As the largest Food Bank in South Carolina, Harvest Hope serves the 215,000 residents in need in 20 counties across the Midlands, Pee Dee, and the Upstate. We have 3 main locations: in Columbia, Florence, and Greenville. From those locations, our programs and partners reach the communities in Richland, Lexington, Greenville, Florence, Dillon, Orangeburg, Sumter, Calhoun, Chester, Chesterfield, Clarendon, Darlington, Fairfield, Kershaw, Laurens, Lee, Marion, Marlboro, Newberry, Saluda and Sumter counties.
What programs are available at Harvest Hope?
We have various programs we work on with our partners to serve our communities.
To ensure at-risk children have meals during out of school time, we have the BackPack Program. This programs provides easy to prepares meals and nutritious snacks to children after school and during breaks. We also assure there are resources for the seniors in our community through the Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP), a USDA nutrition program available for eligible senior citizens. Through a partnership with the South Carolina Department of Agriculture, Harvest Hope receives and distributes USDA commodities (TEFAP) provided to the state for qualified individuals. Our Mobile Food Pantries allow us to reach communities in rural areas of South Carolina that have little access to healthy foods.
In addition to these programs, we do operate onsite emergency food pantries at our Midlands and Upstate locations to provide food immediately to families when they are experiencing a crisis, or just have trouble making end meet. To learn more about these programs, check out the Programs page on our website.
Our mission is to transform lives in the communities we serve by feeding the hungry, addressing food insecurity, and building a healthy and hunger-free tomorrow, and we want you to be a part of it. We are excited to begin the new year with so many amazing volunteers, donors, partners, and supporters by our side.
We could not do what we do without you. Check out our volunteer calendar and come join us in the fight against hunger this year.