December 8, 2022

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Where Is Your Cooking

Midlands food pantries seeing increase in need

Harvest Hope says they’ve seen 1,000 new clients statewide in one month.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Summer is in full swing. Kids are at home. Prices for everything are rising. And food pantries are seeing an increase in need.  

Local food pantries are saying that they are seeing more families needing assistance. 

Erinn Rowe from Harvest Hope says they saw 1,000 new clients at their branches statewide in the month of May alone. 

With school is out and inflation at record highs, Rowe says hard-working parents are having to pay more money for groceries.

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“All of those necessary items that people are having to buy to go to work, to make money, to stay in their house, to feed their families, those are costing 10 and 15% more, so that’s 10 and 15% less money that have to buy food at the end of the month, and that’s what we’re really seeing to struggle this summer.”

Rowe went on to say, “When people come to the food bank, it’s a really difficult choice, a lot of times in their minds, its their last resort.”

Gordon Schell from FoodShare SC is seeing a similar trend, saying, “There certainly has been an increase in the number families and individuals reaching out to us to participate in our program.”

He says families are forking out more money at the supermarket, saying, “It has put a tremendous increase on families who are in need.” 

To help meet the need, the Columbia Food Policy Committee created a food access GIS (geographic information system) map, listing all the places residents within the city of Columbia and Richland County can go to, to access healthy produce.

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Locations on the map include, grocery stores, farmer markets, food pantries, FoodShare SC produce box sites and free summer meal locations.

If you know of place that should be listed on the map you can email [email protected] to get that place listed