Lowcountry Food Bank opened a distribution center in the Myrtle Beach area this week.
“This location’s more convenient to our [partner] agencies. It allows us to bring in more food,” said Lowcountry Food Bank President and CEO Pat Walker at a grand opening ceremony Thursday. “It will enable us to focus on an equitable distribution of food and it is the home of our brand new cooler and freezer.”
Lowcountry Food Bank distributes food to nearly 300 partner agencies including soup kitchens, homeless shelters and emergency food pantries.
Walker said there are more than 52,000 people in the greater Grand Strand area alone who regularly deal with food insecurity.
“Food insecurity simply means that you don't know where your next meal is going to come from,” she said.
Lowcountry Food Bank serves South Carolina’s 10 coastal counties. Last year, the nonprofit distributed more than 30 million pounds of food. The organization also operates distribution centers in Charleston and Yemassee.
Along with donating food for the distribution center, Food Lion provided a $300,000 gift to support the 20,000-square-foot facility at 4716 Northgate Blvd.
That money has gone toward things like stocking the new cooler and freezer and expenses associated with the warehouse space that Lowcountry Food Bank leases.
“Food insecurity is a huge issue in the towns and cities that we serve,” said Food Lion President Meg Ham. “If we really are to nourish and set folks up for success in life, it’s imperative that we take this on.”
Ham emphasized the goal of Food Lion and the Food Lion Feeds charitable organization.
“At Food Lion, we really do believe no one should have to choose between dinner and rent or gas or groceries,” she said.
There are more than 1,000 Food Lion stores, Ham said. Each one has a relationship with a food bank or food pantry and donates products that are unsellable but still safe to eat.
Lowcountry Food Bank previously had a location at 97 South Broadway St., Myrtle Beach.
The opening of the new distribution center also introduces an opportunity for volunteers to get involved. Those wishing to donate their time will be able to help out by performing tasks such as sorting through donations, which will be accepted at the facility.
While one can acquire food from the distribution center in an emergency situation, most of it will be doled out to community members by the partner agencies.
Lowcountry Food Bank has a healthy food initiative and also seeks to education the public about nutrition. Walker pointed out that the large cooler is able to store fresh produce to be distributed. Other items like canned goods will also be distributed.
The distribution center is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. For more information, visit www.lowcountryfoodbank.org.