FLORENCE, S.C. — Lenora Lefew is the new volunteer and development coordinator for Harvest Hope Food Bank in Florence.
In this new role, she will be connecting people with volunteer and donation opportunities both at the Florence facility as well as within the nine-county service area.
Lefew has been at Harvest Hope for approximately two months.
Marlboro, Chesterfield, Clarendon, Darlington, Dillon, Florence, Lee, Sumter and Marion counties are served by Harvest Hope.
Lefew said she is hoping to interest businesses and industries in partnering with Harvest Hope by volunteering at the food bank.
“We have one group that comes regularly from Honda,” Lefew said.
She said there are two parts to the food bank volunteer program — the packing of food boxes and the product recovery.
The stores the food bank receives donations from varies depending on product availability.
Lefew said they receive large quantities of food that is past its purchase by date but is still good to use from these stores.
“We get this food by the truckload,” Lefew said. “We send all our products out to the 150 agencies that partner with us for them to distribute.”
Harvest Hope is a distribution center. She said it is not set up for individual food requests.
Lefew said Harvest Hope is not accepting new agencies at this time but is encouraging people to work within existing agencies.
Lefew said there are churches in rural areas that get food as well as places like Carolina Kids and the Soup Kitchen in Hartsville.
She said these agencies make an appointment to come and get food. Some agencies qualify for the USDA program, which the food bank handles.
Lefew said the staff pulls items daily to the warehouse floor for agencies to select items. What each gets depends on how often they serve clients. Some, she said, serve food daily while others only once a month.
“We are having a peanut butter drive this month,” she said.
Lefew said they supply their agencies with fresh produce, meats, canned goods and other items such as baby formula, which must be within the current date, paper goods and toiletries.
Lefew said one of the amazing things about the food bank is it has almost zero waste.
Lefew said volunteers help pack food in boxes. Others work in the recovery area where they take all of the food received to a room to be sorted.
Lefew said the volunteers engage in team building with fellow employees when at the food bank.
“They are able to see the fruits of the labor,” she said. “This is a volunteer opportunity for people who want to make a difference in the lives of others.”
“Volunteers are the heartbeat of our work here at Harvest Hope,” said Wendy Broderick, Harvest Hope CEO. “Without them, we would not be able to provide hope to thousands of residents across the Pee Dee.”
The food bank is headquartered in Columbia with another one in Greenville.
The food bank in Florence has 12 paid employees.
In fiscal year 2018, Harvest Hope Food Bank served 2,102,088 individuals in 20 counties across South Carolina in the Midlands, Pee Dee and the Upstate.
Volunteers either as individuals or groups are needed from 10 a.m. to noon and 1 to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday at Harvest Hope, located at 2513 W. Lucas St.
Should you, as an individual or within a group of coworkers, decide to give of your time, talent and treasures to Harvest Hope Food Bank, Lefew will be your primary contact and will find the best avenue for you to make an impact on hunger in the community. If you are interested in working to help provide food to local families, you can sign up to volunteer on their website at harvesthope.org or call Lefew directly at 843-661-0826, ext. 2102.