Second Helpings: This hard-working local nonprofit distributes food and assists those unable to put food on the table across Beaufort County

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Since 1992, Second Helpings — a nonprofit charitable food distribution project — has been committed to fighting hunger in Beaufort County.

Second Helpings Executive Director Maureen Korzik stands with Beaufort Coordinator Cesar Garcia in front of one their delivery trucks.
Second Helpings Executive Director Maureen Korzik stands with Beaufort Coordinator Cesar Garcia in front of one their delivery trucks.

The recognizable trucks are on the roads seven days a week, rescuing food that would have been discarded from area grocery stores and redistributing it to area agencies and churches that serves the disadvantaged countywide.

Last year, Second Helpings was designated a “Charity Angel” by the SC Secretary of State. The group dedicates at least 80 percent of the money raised toward their core mission of rescuing food; very few charities can say that.

In December, Maureen Korzik became the executive director of Second Helpings, and she is working hard to continue the great work already accomplished by the organization, in addition to updating their technology and getting the word out about the important role the group plays in the community.

A self-described “Jersey girl,” Maureen said, “I oversee the day to day operations of Second Helping. That means I do whatever needs being done — manager, fundraiser,  agency relations, marketing and chief bottle washer.”

Maureen loves the ever-changing challenges of the job. “My first week of work, we got a call from Walmart telling us they needed us to pick up five pallets of bananas by the next day!,” she recalled. “Or this past December, Publix called on a Thursday at 5 p.m. and said they had a tractor trailer worth of food from their Christmas food drive (about 16,000 pounds) we needed to pick up by the next day. Our volunteers did it!”

Maureen has been happily married for 28 years to her husband Tom, who worked for Bank of America for 21 years in Charlotte and is now a CPA. She’s the proud mom of Andy, 27, and Pete, 22.

Says Maureen, “We moved here from Charlotte because we wanted to be near the ocean. We grew up going to the Jersey shore every summer. Beaufort is a wonderful town with its waterfront views, friendly people and history.  It reminds me of the town I grew up in.”

Before coming to Beaufort, Maureen worked as an executive director of Matthews Free Health Clinic in Matthews, N.C., in its formative years. She  served on other nonprofit boards, volunteered at her church as a faith formation teacher, did PTA, was a class mom, Cub Scout leader and started a woman’s group called Common Cents that focused on financial literacy for women.

Maureen says, “I have always been very fortunate in all my endeavors. At the end of the day, it’s not about what you get but what you give that makes a fulfilling life.”

She adds, “Second Helpings is a great organization and I’m proud to be a part of it. We are so grateful to have Cesar Garcia, our Beaufort coordinator, and his army of volunteers. They go out seven days a week rescuing food so that others will have something to eat. They rescued over 1.3 million pounds of food last year in Beaufort. They are a dedicated bunch and we love them.”

Beaufort Coordinator Cesar Garcia has been involved with Second Helpings for 10 years. He said, “We rescue unwanted food and serve the community. We believe that no person in our community should have to worry about whether or not they will have enough food to eat today. We fight hunger in a big way. We rescue good, unwanted food, and give it to groups closest in touch with those who need it most. To date, we have rescued over 25 million pounds of food since 1992 and delivered it to over 65 agencies.”

Cesar said the greatest help comes from the supermarkets they deal with such as Bi-Lo,  Food-Lion,  Publix,  Walmart, and other food vendors. “Because of their generous food donations, we are able to provide food to thousands of people in Northern Beaufort County,” he said.

There are 83 big-hearted volunteers who come from Beaufort, Dataw, Cat Island, Lady’s Island and Brays Island.

Adds Cesar, “Most of our volunteers, after working hard all their lives, are now retired. They want to give back to the community by helping in this project. It’s a great feeling to see so much food being distributed, that if not for Second Helpings would have been thrown out. Just knowing you are helping those in need is rewarding enough, and many of our volunteers are comforted by this act of kindness”.

As for the future, Cesar says, “We would like to generate more support and funding from the community. Awareness is the key, and our goals are to heighten public awareness of the needs of the hungry here in Beaufort, and the significant role Second Helpings plays in food distribution and feeding the hungry. We are always in need of new volunteers, and welcome anyone willing to donate their time and be part of the team.”