As we gather around our tables and celebrate the things we are thankful for this month, we look for ways to help those who are hungry and those who need help providing for their families. Here are just a few ways you can help put food on the table, provide diapers for a child or provide support for expecting mothers.
Lowcountry Food Bank
The Lowcountry Food Bank collects donated food items and distributes them to a network of 300 member agencies, including soup kitchens, homeless shelters and emergency food pantries, in 10 coastal counties. The nonprofit offers a wide range of programs and services that serve children, families and seniors who experience hunger.
How to help:
Donate to the virtual food drive by selecting the type of food you’d like to donate and how much you’d like to spend and adding it to your shopping cart. Or volunteer the first and third Saturdays of each month. Visit lowcountryfoodbank.org for more information.
I Heart Hungry Kids
I Heart Hungry Kids, a volunteer organization founded by three young brothers, partners with the Lowcountry Food Bank to host monthly packing parties where volunteers under the age of 18 fill backpacks with food for the Backpack Buddies program. Backpack Buddies works with schools to distribute backpacks to students in need on Fridays so they have nutritious food to eat during the weekend when they don’t receive a school lunch.
How to help:
The next packing party is 1 to 3 p.m. Nov. 5 at the Lowcountry Food Bank, 2864 Azalea Drive, North Charleston. Sign up at ihearthungrykids.org
Junior League Diaper Bank
The Junior League of Charleston is launching a diaper bank to provide diapers to families in need. More than 30 percent of women with infants and toddlers in diapers can’t afford an adequate supply, according to Junior League estimates. Infants can use as many as 10 diapers a day, while toddlers need up to six diapers a day. Diapers can cost up to $100 a month per child. Federal assistance programs available to low-income women and children do not cover the purchase of diapers. The lack of diapers creates unhealthy living conditions and can prevent mothers from continuing their educations or going to work to provide for their families. Babies who do not have a reliable supply of diapers cannot attend daycare or participate in early childhood education programs. Diapers collected through the bank will be distributed to clients of Lowcountry C.A.R.E.S., Florence Crittenton and East Cooper Community Outreach.
How to help: You can drop off any size of unused, disposable diapers at the Junior League Charleston office at 51 Folly Road from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. The Junior League is hosting a Diaper Bank Launch Celebration Nov. 9 to help raise money for its newest initiative. For more information, visit jlcharleston.org.
Florence Crittenton Programs
Florence Crittenton is the only organization in the state that provides a residential program for low-income pregnant girls ages 10 to 21. Many of the young women are seeking a safe place to stay during their pregnancies because they are victims of physical or sexual abuse or are dealing with mental health issues, according to executive director Lisa Van Bergen. The residential program has had to turn away 18 girls since July 1, after the state Department of Social Services cut some of its funding to Florence Crittenton. As a result, the residential program has had to turn away girls who are not in foster care through the Department of Social Services or in the juvenile justice system. After terminating the contract, DSS officials said they were working to help identify funds to help Florence Crittenton make up the budget shortfall. Van Bergen says she expects there still will be a funding shortage.
How to help: Give a cash donation to Florence Crittenton, or visit the wish list on the Florence Crittenton website at florencecrittentonsc.org for items that can be donated. Attend this year’s Wine Women and Shoes fundraiser Nov. 12. Visit florencecrittentonsc.org for more information.