The LCFB and its partnering food pantries work to address food insecurity in coastal South Carolina. Food insecurity is the limited access to nutritious and safe food.
42% of the clients the LCFB serves have someone in their household with diabetes and 70% have someone with high blood pressure. To address the connection of hunger and poor health outcomes, the LCFB began implementing Wellness Pantries in 2017, which are part of the LCFB Healthy Foods Initiative.
As designated Wellness Pantries, LCFB partner agencies support the health and well-being of their clients through their pantry environment and educational opportunities.
Catholic Charities of Charleston (CCC) began offering pantry items in a client choice environment in March 2017. CCC's Robyn Fick says, "I know that our clients like to choose their own groceries, and it also opens a dialogue about what kind of food they need that they may not be eating. It gives us an opportunity 'to shop with them' rather than hand them a bag of food they may not eating."
"This time of year there's a greater need for meals because school is out and there are no school meals," said Robyn. "And grandparents who provide childcare for their grandchildren during the summer have a greater need, too."
"Our clients love the Fresh Express distributions where they can choose fresh fruits and vegetables," said Robyn. "Even with many agencies now offering these distributions, they get a great turnout."
CCC also helps clients apply for benefits like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, and, if transportation is a barrier for them, CCC can sometimes supply clients with a bus ticket to their pantry. "We make kits for our homeless clients that can be easily prepared," Robyn added, "and for elderly clients, our pantry helps offset food costs so they can still buy medications they may need."