On Thursday afternoon my fellow co-works and myself packed my little Mazda to the rim with donations Kiawah Island Golf Resort employees have been collecting for the past few weeks. As part of Trident United Way’s Day of Caring, our Food Drive was in effort to support Lowcountry Food Bank of Charleston. Today, I had the pleasure of starting off my day with delivering over 364 lbs of donations and supplies ranging from canned to dry food plus personal supplies and needs.
Setting its mission to feed the poor and hungry within the ten coastal counties of South Carolina, Lowcountry Food Bank is soliciting and distributing healthy food and grocery products to nonprofit agencies serving the poor and to educate the public about problems and solutions to domestic hunger. After unloading the Madza and weighing in the donations, Mike Pendergrast- Food Works Manager, offered me a tour!
Mike took me around the different areas of their site and explained the multiple programs LCFB has in place. One of the most interesting things I learned LCFB is doing is Food Works (of course this is where Mike’s eyes light up). Food Works is a hands on approach that teaches the community about how food works! Through this program meals are created in the Zucker Family Production Kitchen and provided to program partners that do not have cooking facilities.
“The local community is what DRIVES our day-to-day,” said Mike. “We are not government funded and while we have received some rather generous donations from corporations and foundations, the majority of our funding comes from 1$ and 5$ donations. We are able to turn those 1$ donations into about 4-5 meals for kids and seniors. Local food drives such as yours get filtered through 300 agencies across 10 counties in the Lowcountry from Myrtle Beach to Beaufort. One of the most valuable donations we get from the local community is time; we have many volunteers we count on for their continued support and expertise.”
When I got to my office on Kiawah I started researching this particular program and here is what I found on their website: Food Works program functions under three pillars – Cook, Teach, Nourish – and since its launch in January 2011, it has done just that. Through the Zucker Family Production Kitchen and the Food Works program, meals are produced for children in the Kids Cafe program, and for seniors through our partnership with East Cooper Meals on Wheels. Food Works Executive Chef, Kimberly Ortego-Kuver and a team of culinary apprentices produce more than 4,000 meals a week.
With days like today (Trident United Way’s- Day of Caring) small visits like this remind us of all the incredible projects other organizations are implementing and utilizing to make a difference.