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Help Golden Harvest provide 300,000 meals with virtual campaign

Published: Oct. 1, 2020 at 5:59 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - Millions have gone hungry since the pandemic started, so the Golden Harvest Food Bank’s annual campaign comes at a crucial time.

“We’re going to scare away hunger because there is a bigger need than we’ve ever seen this year.”

You just heard it. Golden Harvest is kicking off the “It’s Spooky to Be Hungry” food drive campaign. This year is looking a lot different because it’s a virtual drive, but organizers are still setting steep goals.

Impacts from COVID-19 mean that food insecurity has risen by 41 percent in the community, and 1...
Impacts from COVID-19 mean that food insecurity has risen by 41 percent in the community, and 1 in 5 people in the CSRA now struggle with hunger.((Source: Golden Harvest Food Bank))

Officials at Golden Harvest tell us they’ve seen a 20 percent increase in need since the pandemic began. October 1 brought the start of the 28th annual “It’s Spooky to Be Hungry” campaign in order to fight food insecurity in our area.

A study from Feeding America says before COVID-19, food insecurity was at the lowest it has been since the 2008 recession, with about 37 million people who were food insecure.

The same study projects that number has risen to more than 54 million because of the pandemic.

“Families that thought they were going to be furloughed for a few weeks, then a few months, are finding there aren’t jobs to go back to,” said Christina Alexander, marketing coordinator for Golden Harvest.

All but one of our Georgia counties have at least a 20 percent food insecurity rate. That’s up from 2018, when none of our counties were above 20 percent.

Saluda has the lowest rate among our South Carolina counties at 15 percent. In 2018, they were at just 10 percent.

“Whether they’ve been here before or whether it’s their first-time receiving food,” Alexander said. “They’re surprised that there’s something like this, and they’re so grateful that there is.”

But the pandemic has taken its toll on the food bank itself. As food insecurity has gone up around the region, so has the cost for Golden Harvest

“We’re having to spend 30 percent more a month on our food costs,” Alexander explained.

She says the goal for this year’s campaign is $100,000, that’s 20 percent more than they usually raise to meet the increased need. That money would help provide 300,000 meals for families in need in our area.

“Our community has always come out and shown up and shown up hard when we asked them,” Alexander said.

If you would like to help out with the virtual drive, you can find a full list of options about ‘It’s Spooky To Be Hungry’ food drive campaign.

Golden Harvest will be accepting online donations all month, and on October 24, you can bring nonperishable food items to one of their collection sites across the area.

If you or someone you know needs food assistance, visit our Food assistance resources for residents in the CSRA page.

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