COLUMBIA — State Parks across South Carolina are hoping visitors and members of their surrounding communities will help them pack park trucks full of canned goods and other non-perishables to help address hunger.
Pack-A-Park-Truck events will be held at all 47 state parks in South Carolina on July 23. The event is part of the Park Service’s “Hunger Takes No Vacation” food drive, a five-month-long collaborative effort with the SC Food Bank Association that ends after Thanksgiving.
The goal for Saturday is to completely fill park trucks with unopened, non-perishable food items and to raise awareness about the year-round struggle with hunger. The parks will donate all contributions to their local food banks.
“We’re inviting our local communities, as well as people who are camping with us, staying with us in cabins, simply visiting with us for the day, or vacationing nearby to help us fill these park trucks with donations that can help feed the needy and hungry,” said Duane Parrish, director of the South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation & Tourism.
The most requested items for the food drive are canned vegetables, canned meats, dry goods, peanut butter, beans, toiletries, diapers, detergents and plastic bags.
The four members of the South Carolina Food Bank Association are:
• Golden Harvest Food Bank, serving Abbeville, Allendale, Aiken, Anderson, Bamberg, Barnwell, Edgefield, Greenwood, McCormick, Oconee, and Pickens counties;
• Harvest Hope Food Bank, serving Calhoun, Chester, Chesterfield, Clarendon, Darlington, Dillon, Fairfield, Florence, Greenville, Kershaw, Laurens, Lee, Lexington, Marion, Marlboro, Newberry, Orangeburg, Richland, Saluda and Sumter counties;
• Lowcountry Food Bank, serving Beaufort, Berkeley, Charleston, Colleton, Dorchester, Georgetown, Hampton, Horry, Jasper, and Williamsburg counties; and
• Second Harvest Food Bank of Metrolina, serving Cherokee, Lancaster, Spartanburg, Union, and York counties.
More than 860,000 South Carolinians lived below the poverty threshold in 2013, which is about 18.6 percent of the population or 1 in 5.4 people. The national average is 15.8 percent or 1 in 6.3 people.
Each of the four member food banks are 501c3 organizations who utilize many resources to gather, sort, store and distribute food either at their own facilities or directly to at-risk areas in their individual service areas. Their combined efforts distribute millions of pounds of food and provide millions of meals to struggling South Carolinians every year.
For more information on “Pack-A-Park-Truck” and the food drive, contact Dawn Dawson-House, director of Corporate Communications at SCPRT, at email@example.com or 803-734-1779.