L to R: Natalie Hauff, CCPL Deputy Director Innovation, Kathleen Montgomery, CCPL Associate Director Community Engagement, Kevin Schildt, South Carolina Stingrays Vice President of Corporate Partnership
Charleston County Public Library (CCPL) has received $10,000 in grant and donation dollars for its Free and Fresh Community Fridge program. The program distributes free fruits and vegetables at select libraries in areas of higher food insecurity and need. The fridges are stationed at three library branches: John L. Dart Library (currently closed for renovations), Otranto Road Library (2261 Otranto Road in North Charleston), and St. Paul’s/Hollywood Library (5130 Hwy. 165 in Hollywood).
The South Carolina Stingrays donated $5,260, which will be used to purchase produce for the two operational fridge programs. The Center for Rural and Primary Healthcare (CRPH), in collaboration with the SC Department of Health and Environmental Control (SC DHEC), also awarded CCPL a Libraries and Health Community Health Engagement Mini-Grant for $5,839. The grant aims at focusing on community-driven health engagement strategies via a public library. The funding will also be used to purchase produce to stock the fridges throughout the year.
“We are grateful that these organizations recognize how we are working to meet the needs of our community’s hunger and health so we may continue providing this vital service,” said CCPL Deputy Director Natalie Hauff. “This funding will be used to directly feed our community in conjunction with our food literacy programming aimed at enriching the lives of our patrons through culinary and health education.”
The program would not be possible without the on-going support and recurring donations from our partners:
Charleston Parks Conservancy
City of Charleston Farmer’s Markets
Fields to Families
Food Rescue US
Stone Soup Collective
The program also accepts produce donations from the community, who can drop off fresh fruits and vegetables at any of the fridges during the library’s operating hours. Any food items in the fridges are free and accessible to the public with no advance registration or sign-up required.
“Take what you need, leave what you can,” said CCPL Associate Director Kathleen Montgomery, who oversees Community Engagement.
If you would like to help support this program, consider making a donation by dropping off fresh fruits and vegetables to the St. Paul’s Hollywood or Otranto Road library. You may also make a financial donation on their website.
This program further expands CCPL’s efforts to promote food literacy across Charleston County. In partnership with the Lowcountry Food Bank, CCPL has been providing free after school snacks for children at several library branches through the Kids Café program, Charlie Cart cooking programs, and Summer Feeding, which is also in conjunction with a partnership with the Charleston County School District. The library has also partnered with the Lowcountry Food Bank in the past to distribute produce at select library locations through pop-up drive-thru events.
For more information about this and other services and programs, visit ccpl.org, contact your local library branch, or connect with the library on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.