Now in our 41st year of operations, I am excited for the future we share! We realized a record-setting 2023 with the distribution of 42.8 million pounds of food, of which 18 million pounds was fresh produce, which translates to 33 million meals for the neighbors we serve.

Through this Annual Impact Report, we share some of our 2023 achievements and priorities for 2024 and beyond.

With the conclusion of our previous 5-year strategic plan, we developed a new strategy and moved to a 3-year, focused strategic framework. We engaged as many of our stakeholders as possible, including our staff, Board members, neighbors and individuals with lived experience, partner agencies, volunteers, and donors.

Our new strategy purposefully takes an “asset framed” focus that seeks to define our neighbors and communities by their assets and aspirations, rather than by challenges and problems. The roots of our new framework are illustrated in the apple tree within this report.

While it’s been another extremely busy year, with many challenges, I am proud to work alongside our partners, donors, staff, and volunteers in service to our neighbors. Their dedication and commitment to ensure our neighbors receive the support they deserve, without judgment and with respect. 

2023 was not without challenges, given the impact of inflation and increased food, rent, utilities, and transportation costs. These issues reinforce the importance of our work to procure nourishing food that enables our neighbors and their families to lead active, thriving lives.

Through this Annual Impact Report, we share some of our 2023 achievements and priorities for 2024 and beyond.

    • We marked an incredible milestone of 40 years of consistently serving our neighbors.
    • Our operations teams continue to demonstrate their dedication towards receiving and shipping food efficiently and effectively to ensure our neighbors have the greatest possible choices of what they need on their tables in the quickest possible way.
    • Our retail program continued to grow, with approximately 15 million pounds of product rescued, which represents 38% of total food sourced.
    • Our partnership with the Gullah Farmers Cooperative Association continues to help address the underlying causes of hunger and food insecurity by increasing the capacity of local farmer-led food producers and their ability to access the wholesale food market.
    • Post-COVID, we have maintained strong and consistent revenue performance and growth across many of our different fundraising channels for Chefs’ Feast – celebrating our 25th Chefs’ Feast in 2024, our LCFB Foundation, Hunger Action Month, and Giving Tuesday.
    • We have continued to focus on developing the capacity of our partner agencies to best serve our neighbors, and our community programs have continued to innovate and evolve throughout the year, leading to greater clarity and focus for our school food centers, community nutrition, and health programming.
    • Our focus on equity, diversity, and inclusion has continued throughout the year with additional staff workshops and initiatives for continued hiring and human resources policy improvements.
    • We continue to see our volunteer program gain momentum with a growing number of volunteers and volunteer opportunities moving closer to pre-pandemic levels.

    Building on the above achievements and many more, we have set priorities for this year, some of which include:

    • Implementing the first year of our new strategic framework, which includes a new roadmap to align our work in pursuit of our new mission that identifies and implements innovative solutions and supports opportunities for collaboration.
    • Continued focus on our ability to raise the resources required to meet the needs of our neighbors.
    • We have celebrated an important milestone with the 25th Anniversary of Chefs’ Feast in 2024.
    • We are beginning the construction of our new, strategically located 20,000-square-foot Southern Region facility on the Agricultural Technology Campus in Hampton County.
    • Continue to:
      • Draw on our growing set of data and GIS mapping to understand the nature of the issues and needs across our service area so we can continue to meet the needs of our neighbors where they are with the appropriate types of interventions.
      • Drive for greater efficiencies across our own operational functions.
      • Focus on our people – building on this year’s work to better define our people and culture work and implement tools to support effective team performance.
      • Ensure the necessary safeguards are in place to protect against cyber-attacks through training and awareness amongst staff of the ever-evolving cyber threats.
      • Expand our key programs, like our volunteer program, to support a growing range of roles and functions across the organization and our continued support to build the capacity of our partner agencies.

    While it’s been another extremely busy year, with many challenges, I am proud to work alongside our partners, donors, staff, and volunteers in service to our neighbors. Your dedication and commitment to ensuring our neighbors receive the support they deserve, without judgement and with respect, is a truly commendable quality.

    Nick Osborne

    President and CEO

    This article was originally published in our 2023 Annual Impact Report. View the full report here.

    About the Lowcountry Food Bank: Feed. Advocate. Empower.

    The Lowcountry Food Bank serves the 10 coastal counties of South Carolina and distributed more than 42 million pounds of food in 2023. The Lowcountry Food Bank helps neighbors thrive by distributing food to nearly 240 partner agencies including on-site meal programs, homeless shelters, and emergency food pantries. The Lowcountry Food Bank advocates on behalf of those who experience hunger and helps empower people to make healthy and nutritious food choices. For more information, visit the Lowcountry Food Bank website.