Harvest Hope food bank sees increase in need during COVID-19


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A nonprofit that helps bring access to food for those in need was busy in April.

Harvest Hope Food Bank, which serves people in about 20 counties across South Carolina, distributed more than 130,000 meals through 24 mobile food pantries across the Pee Dee, including in Lee County. Mobile food pantries are designed to bring critical, nutritious food to rural communities with high food insecurity numbers, and COVID-19 has even further impacted those areas.

"We've seen a tremendous increase of neighbors who need our help since the COVID-19 crisis began," said Wendy Broderick, Harvest Hope Food Bank CEO, in a news release. "These mobile pantries bring food straight to these communities to help those impacted by job loss and limited transportation."

The pandemic has affected rural populations that already face hunger by increasing isolation and access to services. Harvest Hope has seen a 125% increase in the amount of food being distributed through its mobile food pantries in communities such as Lee, Darlington, Dillon and Marion counties, according to the nonprofit.

With support from community partners such as Duke Energy, South State Bank, Carefirst Carolina Foundation and other Pee Dee organizations, thousands of residents were given shelf-stable food boxes, fresh dairy, produce and more.

Community members who want to contribute to Harvest Hope's COVID-19 response, visit www.harvesthope.org.