SNAP benefits end, food banks are ready

By Stephan Drew, Editor

Recipients of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), otherwise known as “food stamps” will be seeing less in their accounts next month – a lot less. During the COVID pandemic, monthly benefits were increased from $250 to $516. Now, the payments of that additional money has expired and recipients will return to the Pre-COVID amount. With grocery prices dramatically increasing and some food shortages around the country, this will mean additional hardships for those at the lowest income levels. Usually, local soup kitchens and food banks fill the gap when some are on the verge of doing without. However, this year, those distribution centers may be under enormous strain.

Kingdom Builders Worship Center (KBWC), located on Powerline Rd. in Hartsville, has been adding extra supplies. “We have increased our inventory and are preparing for the demand,” Rev. Taylor said. The group took the month of January off to go shopping and stock up. KBWC is part of the Harvest Hope organization and helps coordinate their food distribution program with them. They also partner with All For Christ Ministries, located on 6th Street in Hartsville. They are offering Senior Citizen Boxes at 2pm on the 4th Friday of each month and Regular Boxes on the 4th Saturday of each month.

The Lord Cares (TLC) Ministry, located on Grove St. in Darlington, is also feeling the demand. “We’ve already seen an increase in larger crowds,” said Rev. Ragland “Rags” Coxe. They usually see 2 or 3 per day. Last week, they were experiencing 8 or 10 per day. “But, we are very blessed in this ministry,” Coxe continued, “There are many churches who have members and are on the board. They all work as volunteers in this cause.” Coxe said the Darlington County Public School System donated a large amount of non-perishables and McCall Farms (of Effingham) donated an entire pallet of assorted canned vegetables. Coxe also reported that, in May, TLC will return to putting bags on doorknobs to collect donated canned goods so that individuals will not have to drive them to their location. TLC will go to the homes where bags are and collect the bags of donated food. Approximately 10,000 pounds or more will be distributed. Coxe admitted that the organization has a good inventory and, with a building addition, they have more space. Coxe stated, “The Lord Cares stands ready to assist during these challenging times.” He expressed thanks to all those who donated and the volunteers who helped in loading, unloading, stocking and distribution. They give out the food items on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday from 10am to 12pm. If you, your church or civic organization can help, please casll (843) 395-1001.

HRC Crusade For Christ, located on Myrtle Street in Hartsville, has also been stocking up on non-perishables and increasing their inventory in anticipation of the growing demand. Sally Ellerbe of HRC said, “All of our funds come from our congregation. We do get some USDA products but, it’s mostly donations.” She said the group had recently been shopping to stock up and found some necessary items already unavailable in the grocery stores. To donate or volunteer, please call (843) 332-4291.

New Vision Church, located on Bethlehem Rd. in Hartsville, is preparing for the expected influx as well. “We distribute food every 3rd Tuesday of each month,” Deacon George Gattison said, “We have extra supplies and are calling people in the community to let them know.” Pastor Calvin Daniels is passionate about the food distribution program and has been working extra hard to make sure the center has all they can for those in need. If you would like to donate or volunteer, or if you are in need, please call (843) 383-4343 or call Deacon Gattison direct at (843) 624-5640.

Hartsville Interfaith Ministries, located on Swift Creek Rd. in Hartsville, reported they have experienced increases in needs for a while. Beth Repko, Executive Director said, “We have had an increased influx for the last 5 or 6 months. Part of it because of inflation. I expect even more people in the near future.” She also praised the community for their donations during this time of crisis. “Donors, churches and foundations support us a lot,” she said, “We’ve received a lot of donations from individuals and organizations in the area and we are so grateful. It’s really helped out so much.” The group not only distributes approximately 40-50 pounds of food per 2-person household, they also give out laundry detergent, toothpaste, deodorant and other hygiene products, which are also needed. “For the most part,” Repko said, “we’re fully stocked right now.” For information, to donate or volunteer, please call (843) 857-9003 or (843) 332-6401.

Please pray for those in need all around our community. And, donate whatever you can, money, canned goods, other non-perishables, or your time as a volunteer. Contact any of these or other food banks in our area to see how you can help.

Author: Stephan Drew

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