CHAPIN, S.C. — One outreach center in the Midlands is now able to help Newberry County families in need by distributing food to families that may not have had the access before.
The Chapin We Care Center has been serving the Chapin, White Rock and Newberry County communities for almost 34 years.
The outreach center has seen an increase in the number of clients since the start of the pandemic.
"I think as the financial crisis has kind of continued to last and jobs are threatened and hours are cut, people just have more need," said Alecia Klauk, Executive Director of the center.
Since the pandemic started, the Chapin We Care Center has distributed food to families through their drive-thru. They plan on continuing the drive-thru for as long as necessary.
When the COVID-19 pandemic began, the outreach was not receiving their normal about of food from grocery stores. According to the organization, grocery stores did not have the excess they usually do. Fortunately, Klauk said the situation has improved over time.
"There are still some items that are difficult to find, but the supply chain seems to have corrected itself. Meat and produce are probably our biggest staples and they're one of the most expensive items in the store," explained Klauk.
Community members have also stepped up to the plate to provide support and donate food and other items they need.
The Chapin We Care Center typically gives a family about $300 worth of food every month. They've been able to get back to that number now for the first time since the pandemic started.
Each month, the outreach center sees about 700 families from Chapin. They're also serving about 1,000 individuals a month in Newberry County through their partnership with Harvest Hope.
Harvest Hope receives food and funding from the federal government, and they're able to push that food out to more rural areas, according to Klauk.
"We Care offered to spend our fuel and volunteer hours to go and pick that food up and then take it to Newberry and then we distribute it," said Klauk. "We're there three times a month, each at different locations. We go to Prosperity, Downtown Newberry and up to the northern regions of Newberry County to Whitmire."
The Executive Director said one of the best parts about working with Harvest Hope is providing fresh produce and quality, healthy food to families.
Some of the areas they are able to distribute to are places where basic food needs are hard to meet. Sometimes people purchase produce from a gas station because there are no good options, according to Klauk.
"We get quality food to people who are so isolated from resources is incredibly important," said Klauk. "We know good, healthy eating is going to produce better healthy outcomes from a holistic view medically. We want to keep our clients healthy and strong. That will help them to fight off illnesses we hope like COVID. The more healthy they are, the better they're going to do."
The Executive Director says September is National Hunger Action Month. She believes the best way people can help is to donate to places like their outreach center in your own communities so they can help people in need.
For more information on the Chapin We Care Center, click here.