Hospitality workers across Beaufort County are joining the Second Helpings’ food rescue program.
This partnership is being funded through the Lowcountry Community COVID-19 Response Fund, a fund of Community Foundation of the Lowcountry. In just 10 days, the fundraised $100,000, an amount matched by Community Foundation of the Lowcountry. The Wexford Plantation Charitable Fund grant committee also found merit in this program and donated to support the hospitality workers.
“The grant will provide extra income to hospitality workers while supplementing the gap in volunteers,” explained Lili Coleman, Second Helpings’ executive director. “Some Second Helpings’ volunteers are unable to assist during this pandemic due to their ages or pre-existing conditions. Our goal is to continue to rescue food to help the many people now facing food insecurity.”
Kicking off today, April 15, six SERG Restaurant Group employees who are either out of work or working reduced hours due to the pandemic, will meet the Second Helpings trucks on Hilton Head Island and in Bluffton. Their daily assignment will be to follow in their own vehicles and load rescued food on Second Helpings’ refrigerated trucks while practicing social distancing. They will also assist in distributing the food to local food pantries. The workers will be trained by Second Helpings’ volunteers and paid through the grants on average 25 hours a week per worker. This program will be expanded in Beaufort and will assist food rescue efforts on Hilton Head Island, in the Greater Bluffton area, Jasper County, Beaufort, and in Hampton County.
Second Helpings’ President Jo Pender welcomes the novel approach to rescuing food. “This pandemic is prompting non-profits, including Second Helpings, to be more creative in how we assist our food agencies. We are grateful to the Community Foundation of the Lowcountry and the Wexford Plantation Charitable Fund for their support. Each of us can help ensure that our neighbors have food for their families.”
“This is a wonderful idea and truly a win-win for Second Helpings, our agencies, the SERG Group and the hospitality workers,” said Graham Silcox, Hilton Head volunteer and a day captain for Second Helpings. “Our volunteers have the enthusiasm and experience to mentor these helpers.”
Alan Wolf, Director of Operations, said, “The SERG Restaurant Group is grateful for this opportunity to provide workers to assist Second Helpings with food rescue during the COVID-19 crisis. The funds generated through the grant work will go directly to supporting SERG Restaurant Employees with need during this crisis.”
This is just one effort by Second Helpings to assist the growing need to fight hunger. Individual donations are being used to purchase food where there are grocery store shortages, to provide food to the families in Hampton County affected by the tornados, and to rescue food anywhere to prevent food waste.
As the only authorized food rescue agency in Beaufort, Hampton, and Jasper counties, Second Helpings provides most, or, in some cases, all of the food distributed to the hungry by food agencies in these counties. This is done by rescuing food from local grocery stores. Second Helpings also grows fresh produce to their agency partners, grown at Dempsey Farms on St. Helena Island.
Second Helpings is also collecting non-perishable food and sanitation items. Donors can bring their donations to three convenient locations in Beaufort County. The three locations are:
- the Community Center in Sun City;
- Grayco Hardware Parking Lot, 20 Sams Point Way in Beaufort; or
- Second Helpings’ office on Hilton Head Island at 4 Northridge Drive.
In the spirit of safe distancing, donors are asked to look for the Second Helpings’ trucks and load their donations in the back of the truck. The items will be quarantined for three days and then distributed to the agencies most in need.
Second Helpings also accepts donations to help pay for food. In the past two weeks, over $20,000 has been spent on food to supplement low food inventory at the food donor locations. Second Helpings’ board of directors has designated $40,000 from their budget to support these efforts now through the end of May. Donate today at www.secondhelpingslc.org or send a check to Second Helpings, P. O. Box 23621, Hilton Head, SC 29925.
Second Helpings is 100 percent funded by private grants and donations and has been designated as a South Carolina Angel Charity for fiscal stewardship.