The Lowcountry Food Bank (LCFB) announced this week that Lowcountry TV and radio broadcasters are coming together for a day of giving on Thursday, April 16th, asking their viewers, listeners and friends to support the Lowcountry Food Bank’s COVID-19 hunger relief efforts.
Participants in the #UNITEDforLCFB campaign include WCBD-TV NBC News 2, WCIV-TV ABC News 4, WCSC-TV Live 5 News, WTAT-TV Fox 24, Cumulus Media Charleston, Charleston Radio Group, iHeart Media Charleston, Kirkman Broadcasting, and LM Communications.
Fueled by the power of broadcast media, #UNITEDforLCFB will spread the word for 24 hours and encourage the Lowcountry to fight hunger with a monetary donation to the LCFB. The Lowcountry Food Bank has set a goal to raise $50,000 in one day.
“Local broadcasters wanted to join this effort, without hesitation, to help feed our neighbors who are struggling in this difficult time,” said Amanda Curry, WCSC Live 5 News Marketing Director. “I’m so proud to be a part of this industry and unite with my TV and radio colleagues to help support our community.”
COVID-19 is creating a tremendous increase in the demands on the Food Bank and its partner agencies and food pantries. The LCFB has expensed more than $500,000 on food and transportation in the last few weeks alone.
More than 173,700 individuals, including 51,510 children, face hunger every day in coastal South Carolina. These numbers will only increase as the COVID-19 pandemic persists.
“With school closures, job disruptions and COVID-19’s disproportionate impact on the elderly and low-income families, we know these numbers are growing daily,” said Pat Walker, LCFB President and CEO. “This is the first time that all of the food banks across the country are dealing with a disaster relief situation at the same time. Sourcing food is becoming difficult. All of these factors increase our costs, and it is critical that we can continue to implement our programs that feed seniors, children, families, veterans and individuals in need of healthy food.”
In the last two weeks of March since the COVID-19 pandemic began, the LCFB distributed a total of more than 960,000 pounds of food – which equates to 800,000 meals – through its partner agencies. During this same time period, 30% of the LCFB’s total food distribution has been comprised of fresh fruits and vegetables. The following points illustrate the increased demand on the LCFB during the last two weeks of March alone.
A 379% increase in the number of people who come to the Food Bank for emergency food assistance.
15% of the 300 LCFB partner agencies and food pantries that deliver food directly to clients are closed, creating fewer locations for those in need to find food.
A 43% increase in new clients at LCFB agency partners and food pantries.
The distribution of more than 12,000 disaster food boxes.
The distribution of more than 13,000 BackPacks to children who depend on free school breakfast and lunch meals that are not currently available because of school closures.
A 200% increase on the “Find Help” LCFB web page that provides an agency or food pantry location near a person’s home.
In March, the LCFB quickly adjusted its business model due to drastic declines in retail food donations, social distancing limitations on volunteer efforts, and the need for low-contact distributions. Drive-thru food distribution models were created to protect LCFB partner agencies and food pantries, LCFB neighbors in need, volunteers and employees.
The LCFB also increased its already stringent food safety and safe handling practices to include social distancing and additional sterilization procedures as recommended by the CDC.