What is “Food Insecurity?”

“Food Insecurity” means lacking enough nutritious food to fully meet basic needs because of a lack of financial resources. Studies show that in South Carolina, more than one in five children, and one in seven residents overall, are food insecure.


Why do we need Food Rescue Agencies? Don’t people already get Food Stamps?

Food stamps, known as SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program), were designed to supplement a low-income family’s ability to purchase groceries. Many families fall into a category of working poor – they earn too much for SNAP but don’t earn enough to afford adequate meals. Elderly or disabled people on fixed incomes sometimes must choose between paying for medicine and buying nutritious food. Food banks play a critical role in helping to make ends meet. Supplemental food sourced by Second Helpings and distributed through our local Agency Partners means a person can reallocate a portion of their grocery money towards rent, utilities, medicine or transportation.


How is the food distributed?

Many agencies cannot afford adequate coolers to safely distribute products that require freezing or refrigeration. To help build community capacity, Second Helpings use its refrigerated trucks to distribute perishable foods to partner food agencies. Each day the food is rescued from Food Donors, and is delivered the same day to our Agency Partners based on their distribution schedules. No food is stored in the trucks or in a warehouse. By using our trucks, we help them to provide greater amounts of nutritious foods to the people they serve.


Where can I get food?

We don’t distribute food directly to the public. Instead, we work through community-based organizations and churches to help identify people with the greatest need. Second Helpings works through 54 agencies located in Beaufort, Hampton, and Jasper counties. To find an agency near you, visit our Agency Partners page on this website.


What’s most helpful to donate: food or money?

Don’t let your food go to waste, donate it! Donated food is always welcome, particularly canned goods.  Money goes even further: one dollar donated enables us to rescue nearly $7 worth of food. Your donated funds also allow us to purchase fresh produce and proteins that fill the nutritional gap of donated foods.


What does Second Helpings do?

Second Helpings works in partnership with grocery stores and food agencies to create a hunger-free South Carolina in Beaufort, Jasper and Hampton counties. Our more than 325 volunteers and small staff focus on serving and developing resources in our local community. We also work with the local food bank by picking up food for our agencies from their warehouse, free of charge, and follow their guidelines that are set by Feeding America.

Second Helpings operates eight refrigerated trucks daily, manned by volunteers who rescue food and deliver the food the same day. Second Helpings also works with local farms to harvest fresh produce to supplement what is received from the food partners.


What is a Food Donor?

Food Donors are your local grocery stores, along with convenience stores and restaurants. We pick up food from their receiving areas and deliver it the same day to our Agency Partners, who distribute it to our neighbors in need. We also collect food from schools, hotels, vacation rentals, departing visitors – in short, almost everywhere food is available.


How is Second Helpings related to the Lowcountry Food Bank?

Second Helpings partners with the Lowcountry Food Bank to ensure that all of the food received by them reach the hungry in our communities. We value this partnership, and follow their policies and guidelines for picking up food and distributing that food to our Agency Partners. We receive no subsidies or donations from the Lowcountry Food Bank. Our costs are totally supported locally, through individual donations and grants designated to Second Helpings.


What is the difference between Second Helpings and a Food Pantry?

Second Helpings is the only volunteer-driven organization in Beaufort, Hampton, and Jasper counties authorized to rescue food. Our volunteers pick up the food and deliver it at no cost to our Agency Partners, including food pantries, who provide it directly to people in need.


What other ways does Second Helpings fight against hunger?

Second Helpings rescues food from schools, restaurants, events, and farms – almost everywhere food waste is happening. We also purchase healthy food with grants and donations to supplement rescued food, and work with a local farmer to grow fresh produce.

Second Helpings also provides food to the employees on the island who ride the Palmetto Breeze buses to work from rural areas where residents face hunger. This program, called FILL THE NEED, operates out of the Palmetto Breeze Bus Transit Hub in Bluffton. More than 60 people receive bags of groceries to take home with them every week.


How and when did Second Helpings start?

Thirty years ago, Second Helpings was founded by Guenther Hecht and his wife, Louise. They witnessed food being thrown out at local grocery stores, and they and their friends started rescuing it in the trunks of their cars. Their efforts have grown into an organization that now operates a fleet of trucks distributing more than three million pounds of food annually.


How is Second Helpings involved in “Don’t Waste Food”?

Second Helping prevents food from ending up in local landfills. As the need for rescued food grows, and concern over our environment intensifies, our work is increasingly important to everyone in our communities. Second Helpings is an ambassador to the statewide program Don’t Waste Food, and pioneered their successful K-12 school outreach.


How can I volunteer?

Second Helpings needs volunteers in the communities we serve to rescue food. You can be a truck volunteer responsible for picking up food and distributing the food to our Agency Partners. Volunteers are also needed on our board and committees, and for office assistance and special events. We welcome all levels of expertise.

Please call our office
Leah Long, Office Administrator


How many staff members does Second Helpings have?

Second Helpings has one full time staff member (the Executive Director) and three part-time employees who coordinate our truck routes, collaborate with our Agency Partners and Food Donors, and help recruit volunteers and conduct community outreach. Our biggest resource is our more than 325 volunteers, who keep our costs down to a minimum. We have been recognized by the South Carolina Secretary of State as an Angel Charity for our financial stewardship and cost control.

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