At its annual ball Jan. 27, the Hilton Head Island-Bluffton Chamber of Commerce awarded the Organization of the Year honors to Second Helpings for Fill the Need, a new partnership that provides food to Palmetto Breeze Transit bus riders. Lili Coleman, executive director of Second Helpings, and Margie Tomczak, board member and coordinator of the project, were on hand to receive the award.
“Fill the Need is a great example of the partnerships that exist to help fight hunger in our area,” said Coleman. “Second Helpings is the only Lowcountry agency that rescues food from area food donors. We are then able to provide over 80 percent of the food distributed by local food pantries, churches, and soup kitchens to those in need. We do this free of charge thanks to this generous community. To be recognized by the Chamber is a huge honor and a tribute to our wonderful volunteers and partners.”
Fill the Need was launched in early October, 2017, and is supported by a number of businesses and organizations in the community. Each Thursday, Fill the Need is providing food in soft coolers that were donated by Food Lion. Whole Foods, the Junior League of Bluffton, and other partners have been integral to the launch. A grant from the Junior League of Bluffton was used to purchase refrigerators/freezers to store the food at the transit station. Food Lion provided soft cooler bags that are filled with food for the workers.
The effort is helping individuals who ride the six commuter buses that start in Bluffton at the Palmetto Breeze transit station. These individuals use the buses to commute to Hilton Head and the surrounding area for work. Often, they arrive back at the transit station too late to reach food banks and food pantries. With incomes below the poverty level and limited transportation, it is sometimes difficult to secure food for their families. Palmetto Breeze approached Second Helpings about an effort to meet this need.
Second Helpings is the only nonprofit agency in Beaufort, Jasper, and Hampton counties that rescues food and delivers it to over 60 agencies. It is estimated that approximately 40,000 people benefit from the 2.8 million pounds of food rescued by Second Helpings every year. To find out how you can get involved, go to http://www.secondhelpingslc.org/help-the-hungry.
More information on Palmetto Breeze Transit is available at http://palmettobreezetransit.com/wp/.