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Aiken businesses start circle of giving back through food drives

Published: Sep. 1, 2020 at 6:42 PM EDT
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AIKEN, S.C. (WRDW/WAGT) - The streets in downtown Aiken are looking more crowded than they have in the past few months. Business is starting to pick back up, and now businesses are teaming up to give back.

“We’ve asked for so much support over the last couple of months. We wanted to give back to people because we know nothing’s back to normal yet. There’s a lot of people out of work or don’t have a normal income,” Catherine Gouge of Pitter Patter & Caroline’s said.

Nearly two dozen downtown restaurants and stores are holding a food drive.

“A lot of those people who shopped with us are now hurting financially. They’ve lost their jobs and they’re hungry. And they’ve got kids and families, and it’s time for us to step forward and do something to help them, rather than asking them to help us,” organizer Amy Patheja said.

They’re asking for things like cereal, peanut butter and jelly, soup, and granola bars.

“People have been awesome. They’ve been dropping off a lot of stuff,” Kara Lifka of Downtown Dog said. “We’ve got the little bucket back here that we’ve got is filled. And we’ve got stuff in the back too. It was kind of overflowing.”

“The primary goal is to feed everyone, but there is a secondary benefit out there when people come in to donate, they’re realizing, ’Wait a minute, I need to support these local businesses also,’” Patheja said.

Some places are even offering discounts if you donate food.

“This weekend we will be offering a coupon if you bring in an item for us to donate,” Gouge said.

It’s a circle of giving to get through these unusual times.

“It’s not just a downtown business, it’s a downtown community,” Lifka said.

“Anybody can do this. This is a very simple thing to do, but we’re helping a lot of people, and it feels good to do it,” Patheja said.

Nearly two dozen downtown restaurants and stores in Aiken are holding a food drive to collect...
Nearly two dozen downtown restaurants and stores in Aiken are holding a food drive to collect good for the community in need.((Source: Aiken Achin Bellies organizer team))

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