Help of Beaufort in need of donations

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Demand for emergency food has doubled

Help of Beaufort needs some help.

The largest volunteer organization in Beaufort County, Help of Beaufort has seen a substantial increase in food pantry patrons.

According to Help of Beaufort Executive Director Lori Opozda, the demand for emergency food has doubled since March.

“Before the pandemic we were serving about 40 families a week, and now we see at least 125 a week,” Opozda said. “As fast as the food comes in, it goes out.”

Help of Beaufort relies primarily on food donations from the public to stock the shelves. Eighty percent of the food comes from donations. The rest comes from the USDA and what they purchase at local grocery stores.

Opozda said that family sizes have also increased as people are moving in with family members. And children who normally would have had a meal at school are now needing that meal at home.

“Unemployment benefits have been reduced, evictions are increasing – that has caused more and more issues for people who need our help,” Opozda said.

As the crisis goes on, things can get worse.

“People don’t see a light at the end of the tunnel,” Opozda said, “and that can result in a state of frustration. We have also seen an increase in homeless people coming to us. Last week we had five in one day.”

Help has received a small grant to assist with utility bills. People can find information online at HelpOfBeaufort.org.

The organization is holding a Boston Butt fundraiser.

Boston Butts, cooked by Sea Eagle Market, are being sold for $40.

To order and pay online, visit helpofbeaufort.org. You can also order and pay in person at 1810 Ribaut Road or call 843-524-1223.

Pick up is from 9 a.m. to noon, Saturday, Sept. 5 at HELP of Beaufort at 1810 Ribaut Road in Port Royal.

Help of Beaufort is a 501c3 organization affiliated with the county of Beaufort and founded in 1973. It accepts donations of food and clothing, and monetary donations are always accepted on the website.