Darlington food bank looks to stock up for winter
By Samantha Lyles
Each year as winter approaches and temperatures fall, traffic at The Lord Cares food bank increases. People come to the Darlington ministry for food and assistance all year long, but it’s even harder to stave off hunger when its paired with cold weather. Donations are needed to stock the pantry and keep Darlington County citizens and our homeless residents fed and healthy during this uniquely trying year. Frank Helms and Mike Beckham of The Lord Cares say that while all donations of in-date and shelf stable foods are welcome, there are some items they especially need. “Right now what we really need are meat goods, just so long as it’s not the type that requires refrigeration,” says Helms. Canned meats like Spam, Treet, deviled ham, luncheon meat, corned beef, beef stew, and tuna are always in high demand as they fill the need for dietary protein and serve as versatile meal components. With the holidays in full swing, premium items such as canned hams, turkey and chicken would be greatly appreciated, as these specialty meats could make a holiday meal feel and taste special. “Cold weather is coming, and a good simple hot meal like beef stew over rice or corned beef hash can keep you going,” says Beckham. “Soup is another good item. People always want soup in cold weather.” Side dishes or bases like canned vegetables, dried rice, pasta, and beans are needed, too, as well as canned fruit and fruit cocktail cups. The Lord Cares often gives food bags to the homeless, and Helms says they try to give them pop top cans to make things easier. Since that isn’t always possible, the ministry frequently needs to supply them with simple mechanical can openers. Donations of can openers and hygiene items like soap, toothpaste, toothbrushes, washcloths, and towels are requested to help the homeless clients. Helms adds that since school is back in session, kids are in need of supplies like composition books and notebook paper, pencils, pens, crayons and markers. Additionally, the ministry likes to offer Bibles to those who request them, so any donations of the good book would be most appreciated. While individual gifts are the keystone of the food bank, large scale drives can keep the larder full for weeks. Any group interested in organizing a winter food drive is asked to contact Mike Beckham at 843-395-1001, or Frank Helms at 843-758-3673. Since The Lord Cares is a registered 501 c3 charitable organization, all monetary donations gifted to the ministry are tax deductible. To make a food donation in person, or to apply for emergency assistance with utility bills, visit The Lord Cares at 201 Grove Street in Darlington on Monday, Wednesday, or Thursday from 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. Visitors are asked to observe social distancing and wear face coverings to prevent the spread of COVID-19.