Golden Harvest touching more lives — without contact

Published: Oct. 16, 2020 at 1:34 PM EDT
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AIKEN, S.C. (WRDW/WAGT) - Because the coronavirus pandemic has forced people out of work and into tough situations, Golden Harvest Food Bank says it’s going to keep doing what it can to help.

Earlier this week, that included more than 45,000 pounds of food along with three extra food trucks, all in an effort to feed the people in a long line of cars who showed up for a drive-thru contactless food distribution in Aiken.

Golden Harvest says there’s an immediate need for food in our community.

And even though the food bank was only set to distribute provisions to 400 cars, the actual number served totaled 678.

“We didn’t want clients sitting in line and not being able to receive food,” said Rita Stevens, coordinator for Golden Harvest.

“When we walk up to the cars, they are so thankful and grateful.”

Mobile markets like the one Thursday are designed to reduce the chances of coronavirus transmission by staying contact-free. Recipients come in their cars and pop the trunk. Volunteers place the food in the truck, and the recipient does on their way.

Organizers said that with the help of the Aiken County Sheriff’s Office and University of South Carolina Aiken athletic department, they had 97 volunteers at Thursday’s event.

“As a single mother, times are hard, and it’s even harder with COVID-19,” Stevens said.

Sgt. Stephen Shunn of the Aiken County Sheriff’s Office said, “At this time, it just shows that the community stands together.”

They say with more children learning virtually and parents working from home, the overall need remains.

And they’re working to partner with anyone in the CSRA looking to host a food distribution.

“We have a lot of food in our warehouses and we are trying to get it out in the community where it needs to go,” Stevens said.

What’s next

Golden Harvest Food Bank will provide another contactless drive-thru food distribution Saturday in Augusta.

It will be from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the James Brown Arena parking lot on the side facing Seventh Street. Any Georgia resident can receive non-perishable pantry staples, fresh produce and frozen meat. Enter the lot via Seventh Street.

Key things to know:

  • Volunteers will place the food in the trunks of arriving vehicles to minimize the risk of coronavirus exposure.
  • Empty your trunk.
  • Bring a government-issued photo ID.

By the numbers

  • According to projections by Feeding America, food insecurity has risen by 41% in the CSRA due to impacts from the coronavirus pandemic.
  • An estimated 1 in 5 people and 1 in 3 children now struggle with hunger.
  • Golden Harvest Food Bank has provided more than 6.6 million meals and 97 mobile market food distributions since the start of the pandemic.

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