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Non-profit helping restore jobs lost due to coronavirus pandemic with food service

FoodShare South Carolina is hoping with the demand for food boxes, this will help bring back workers who may have been laid off because of COVID-19.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — One local non-profit is helping workers impacted by the coronavirus with a new project by providing the community with delivery food boxes.

FoodShare South Carolina is an organization that helps the community get access to fresh fruits and vegetables. The nonprofit is housed by the Palmetto Health USC Medical Group.

Michelle Troup is the director of culinary medicine for FoodShare South Carolina. She says their nonprofit was founded back in 2015.

"Our mission is to make fresh food, produce, fruits and vegetables affordable and available for all people in the Greater Midlands area," said Troup.

The non-profit came up with the idea of having boxes prepared to deliver to folks in the community.

"In light of the coronavirus pandemic that we're dealing with now, it's not just our family but it's also our supply chain and our supply chain workers who are really impacted by what's happening with schools closing and restaurants cutting back," explained Troup.

They started the program Farmers2Neighbors. The non-profit works with their local distributors, Senn Brothers from the SC State Farmers Market. They get connected with folks in the community who are wanting to help farmers but also provide food for their families.

"With schools being closed and restaurants cutting back, those are big markets for our local farmers and for our local distributors. Folks have unfortunately, without the same workload, there's not as quite as much of a need for the same workforce."

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FoodShare South Carolina is hoping with more people wanting food boxes, this will increase the demand of products needed so it will help bring back some workers who may have been laid off due to the impacts of the coronavirus.

Folks are able to buy boxes online to have them delivered in their community. The boxes for this week included a pineapple, apples, lettuce, green peppers, container grape tomatoes, sweet potatoes, package strawberries, broccoli, oranges, yellow onions, and pears.

Community members who are designated as neighborhood captains will receive the boxes from Senn Brothers and will be able to distribute the boxes to the people that ordered the food.

"We're hoping it does bring a sense of camaraderie and community and hope. Columbia is a city and an area that can really rally together and knows what it means to lookout, to care for your neighbor."

"Our big hope is to just give our community members who are out there that are passionate and who care and are trying to figure out what they can do, we're trying to give them an avenue where they can get connected and help not just their fellow neighbors... but also help some of those supply chain workers that they may have never met but are in need of regeneration of their job."

Troup says they plan on having this project run throughout the course of the coronavirus situation. Right now their plan is for people to make orders by Wednesday at 5 pm and deliveries will be made on Friday.

To find out how you can order, how to become a neighborhood captain or other ways you can help, head to FoodShare South Carolina's website. To order a box, click here.

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