Photo above: Volunteers load produce onto a truck to be delivered to over 60 agencies in Beaufort, Hampton and Jasper counties. Photo provided.
Second Helpings, with funding provided by the Beaufort County Service Organization and Long Cove and other donors, implemented Phase One of its Healthy Food Pilot Program by partnering with Dempsey Farms and Pinckney Farms in Beaufort during the month of June.
With these funds and others, over 700 families received 20-pound boxes each full of fresh produce picked days before delivery by Dempsey and Pickney farms.
“Despite the tremendous amount of food donated by our food donors, made up of local grocery stores and restaurants, there is still a need for more fresh produce,” said Margie Tomczak, chairperson of Second Helpings Health Food Initiative. “The Second Helping board has initiated a Healthy Food Program to purchase fresh produce during the growing season. This produce is delivered at no cost to the agencies we serve.”
Since last fall, Second Helpings has received hundreds of pounds of free fresh produce from Dempsey Farms in addition to the produce received from grocery store donations. This produce has been distributed to over 60 agencies in Beaufort, Hampton and Jasper counties.
“This month, both Dave Dempsey of Dempsey Farms and Urbie West of Pinckney Farms personally boxed up over 700 20-pound boxes with produce from their fields,” said Tomczak. “These boxes were packed every week for four weeks. The first week boxes included tomatoes, onions, peppers, sweet potatoes, squash and other produce.”
Recipient agencies were encouraged to distribute one box per family and also to break down the boxes to offer produce to all of the people in need of fresh produce.
“Donations and grants make this program possible and this is only the beginning,” said Jan Malinowski, president of Palmetto State Bank and president of Second Helpings.
“Healthy eating helps a child to learn, a parent can control diseases resulting from eating too much processed food and it leads to a more productive and healthy community. It’s a win-win for everyone. We look forward to growing this program.”
Second Helpings is the only local nonprofit organization that rescues food from area food donors and provides the food to agencies for free.
These agencies in turn distribute the food to people living near their food pantry or soup kitchen. Second Helpings, a United Way- and South Carolina Secretary of State Angel-designated agency, celebrates 26 years of serving the Lowcountry and provides over 2 million meals annually.
To learn more, call Second Helpings at 843-689-3689 or visit the www.secondhelpingslc.org.