Hurricane Florence may be over, but the jobs of those working in relief are only just beginning.
Harvest Hope Food Bank in Columbia has been working nonstop to help those in need. Mary Louise Resch, government relations and disaster manager for Harvest Hope, says they are going beyond the normal call of duty to aide people affected by the storm.
“Harvest Hope on a normal day covers 20 of the 46 counties in the state,” said Resch. Because of the severity of this storm, Harvest Hope has had to adjust. Harvest Hope is working with three other food banks in the state to reach all counties, including those out of their normal jurisdiction.
The food bank mainly handles non-perishable items, such as canned goods and bottled drinks, but volunteers are also asking for other supplies. Donations of napkins, baby wipes, and paper towels are also encouraged by Harvest Hope.
One of the biggest donation opportunities this year was Pack the Bus. Columbia Relief teamed up with local organizations for a large scale donation. It took place Saturday, Sept. 15 at the Soda City Market and Columbia Convention Center. Lauren Schwartz, the communications director for Columbia Relief, says this year was a huge success.
“We packed an entire Comet bus full with donations,” Schwartz said. “We had several other vehicles to fill because we had so many.”
Columbia Relief sent out a list of recommended donations a week in advance, letting people know exactly what is requested. The organization mostly wanted cleaning supplies, clothing, non perishable food and bottled water. The items were then donated to local organizations to be distributed to hurricane victims. Harvest Hope will be getting the food donated from the event and will distribute it to residents in need.
In just 15 days, Harvest Hope has distributed over 180,000 meals valuing at almost $400,000. To donate, visit www.donate.harvesthope.org.