1. Childhood Hunger
Programs that Boost Kids’ Health
Research shows that children with regular access to nutritious food have higher grades and test scores, better attendance and improved behavior in school. At Lowcountry Food Bank, we are working to end childhood hunger in coastal South Carolina through a range of innovative programs.
School Market provides students and families the opportunity to select food items to take home. These permanent pantries are located in schools and promote a more dignified service experience for individuals. By freely selecting the items they will eat, students and families can take pride in knowing they are taking nutrition and health into their own hands, while also eliminating unnecessary waste. Students and families also have the opportunity to receive services in the event of an emergency.
School Pantry reaches children through monthly distributions of shelf-stable food boxes which are often scheduled around PTA meetings, performances, other school events, or given out on as needed-basis. This program brings families together by providing nutritious foods to be prepared and enjoyed at home.
BackPack Buddies is designed to fight weekend hunger. Thousands of children in our community rely on free or reduced meals they receive at school. Children at partner schools who experience hunger are enrolled in the program and receive a backpack containing nutritious food to eat during the weekends each Friday during the school year.
Through the Kids Café program, food-insecure children receive after-school meals. One of the largest meal service programs in the country, it provides free meals and nutrition education to children in our community. Thanks to partnerships with schools, community centers and other agency partners, Kids Café is feeding more children than ever before!
We work collaboratively with USDA through the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) which provides meal planning guidance, technical support, and funding for the after-school meals. Kids Café is available to both schools and community-based organizations in our ten county service area. Many schools find it to be a perfect complement to their 21st Century programs, although having such a program is not a pre-requisite. Schools must have the capacity to prepare and serve meals and supervise children in an after-school setting.
Lowcountry Food Bank’s summer meals Program meets the needs of food insecure children by providing them with nutritious meals and snacks when they do not have access to free or reduced-price school meals. The Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) is a nationally available reimbursable program operated through USDA. In 2019, we prepared 83,000 meals and served to children at 49 summer meals sites throughout coastal South Carolina.
Please click here for the application for the 2021 Summer Food Service Program.
Interested in bringing any of these programs to your school or community organization?
Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
2. Senior Hunger
Caring for Our Seniors
Food Insecurity Among Seniors Still High Nearly a Decade After the Recession
“The number of seniors facing hunger in this country remains unacceptably high. After lifetimes of hard work, many of America’s seniors are put in the terrible position of having to choose between groceries and medical care,” says Feeding America CEO Diana Aviv. “These are parents, grandparents and cherished friends, and we must ensure they have the nutritious food they need.”
Lowcountry Food Bank recognizes the tremendous need of seniors of our community. We strive to alleviate the stress they face daily with our programs by partnering with East Cooper Meals on Wheels and Charleston Area Senior Center to ensure our seniors are receiving the most nutritious meals.
Lowcountry Food Bank also administers the Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP), a USDA nutrition program for seniors. CSFP offers free monthly nutrition information and nutritious foods such as canned fruit, vegetables, meat, cereal, cheese, fruit juice and pasta. CSFP boxes are available to residents in Berkeley, Beaufort, Charleston, Dorchester, Georgetown, Horry, and Williamsburg counties who are aged 60 or over and meet income guidelines. Lowcountry Food Bank is an equal opportunity provider.
For more information on CSFP please call 843-747-8146 ext. 103.
3. Nutrition Education
Empowering Citizens to Make Healthy Food Choices
Nutritious Foods to Alleviate the Burdens of Food Insecurity
The LCFB believes that greater access to nutritious food can help break the cycle of hunger and alleviate the burdens of food insecurity. In 2020, the Lowcountry Food Bank officially adopted a Nutrition Policy. The Policy guides organizational decisions and stewards donations that support the well-being of the community. By committing to purchase foods low in sugar, sodium, and saturated fat when they are available, the LCFB provides our agency partners and their clients with nutritious food, which can enrich their health and help alleviate some burdens of chronic disease; all of which can help break the cycle of food insecurity. Foods that do not add nutritional value to the community we serve will be reduced by focusing on procuring more nutrient-dense fruits, vegetables, protein, grains, and dairy.
Education to Address the Root Causes of Hunger
The Nutrition Education team provides training and materials to empower individuals to prepare delicious, nourishing meals. As a SNAP Education Implementing Agency, Lowcountry Food Bank provides our partners with training, materials, and guidance on how to empower our community to make the best food choices for the budget. Making the most of food resources is a key part of addressing the root causes of hunger.
Lowcountry Food Bank offers six-week Cooking Matters courses to adults, kids and families. Each course is team-taught by a volunteer culinary instructor, nutrition educator, and assistant. The courses cover meal preparation, grocery shopping, food budgeting and MyPlate nutrition guidelines. Upon graduation, participants receive incentives that help them continue to learn and practice their skills. We partner with Share Our Strength to bring this evidence-based curricula to our partners.
Grocery Store Tours
Cooking Matters at the Store tours are led by trained volunteers providing families with hands-on education as they shop for food. Participants learn unit pricing, label reading, identifying whole grains and comparing foods to build healthy meals on a budget. We partner with Share Our Strength to bring this evidence-based curricula to our partners.
Partner Agency Nutrition Education
Lowcountry Food Bank provides training for agency leaders to learn how to create healthy pantries, pack healthy food assistance boxes, and offer nutrition education during their distributions.
The Nutrition Education team shares delicious recipes for commonly available items at Lowcountry Food Bank. These recipes are simple to prepare and meet specific nutrition guidelines for a healthy life.
Nutrition Team Volunteers share nutrition activities and recipe samplings with clients at our partners’ community events. At key events, the Charlie Cart, a full scale portable kitchen, enables us to provide safe, interactive sampling, engaging participants in learning new ways to prepare foods.
Interested in bringing Nutrition Education to your agency?For information on contact Nutrition@lcfbank.org
4. Produce Initiatives
Providing Our Community with Healthy Foods
Fresh For All Produce Distributions
Fresh For All is our farmers’ market-style, mobile produce distribution model. This mobile model enables us to serve fresh produce in rural areas that are typically difficult to reach and often have limited food assistance resources. These distributions are client choice, allowing people to choose the foods they want to take home to their families. This reduces the chance of wasted food and provides more dignity for the people we serve.
Growing Food Locally
Through the Growing Food Locally program, Lowcountry Food Bank invests in small-enterprise local farms and sources surplus produce to distribute to food insecure children, families and seniors. By working with local farmers to procure fresh vegetables, Lowcountry Food Bank is able to keep donor dollars in the local food economy and provide the most nutritious produce possible. This method contributes to the financial stability of local farms by covering the production cost of crops that farmers are unable to sell at market.
5. The Zucker Family Production Kitchen
From Our Kitchen to Yours
Repairing the World
The Zucker Family Production Kitchen is a full-scale, commercial kitchen that serves as the epicenter for the preparation and distribution of meals to fight hunger in our community. Managed by Lowcountry Food Bank (LCFB) Executive Chef Emily Cookson, our kitchen is fueled and completely staffed by 40-50 dedicated kitchen volunteers each week to prepare meals for our neighbors who struggle with hunger. Click here to find out how you can volunteer in our kitchen and help feed our community.
At the LCFB, we create and distribute Kids Café meals to food-insecure children. It is one of the largest charitable meal service programs in the country, providing free meals and nutrition education to children in our community. This program provides meals to children after school, which gives them a third, nutritious meal on school days. Thanks to partnerships with schools, community centers and other agency partners, Kids Café, a USDA–operated program, is feeding more children than ever before.
The LCFB’s Summer Meals Program meets the needs of food-insecure children by providing them with nutritious meals and snacks when they do not have access to free or reduced-price school meals. The Summer Food Service Program is a nationally available, reimbursable meal program operated through the USDA. In 2018, the Zucker Family Production Kitchen prepared 61,000 meals and served them to children at 44 Summer Meals sites throughout coastal South Carolina.
We produce healthy and nutritious meals for seniors who experience hunger. Many seniors who have worked their entire lives are now faced with hardships and difficult choices. Some seniors suffer from serious health problems, others are no longer able to drive, and some live on fixed incomes that further stretch their dollars. We distribute meals to homebound and food-insecure senior clients, striving to alleviate the stress they face daily with our programs by partnering with Summerville Meals on Wheels, East Cooper Meals on Wheels and Charleston Area Senior Center to ensure our seniors are receiving the most nutritious meals.
Addressing Dietary Needs
The LCFB hosts Medical University of South Carolina dietetic interns to help us stress the importance of providing healthy foods and meet the dietary needs of food-insecure people in our community through the meals we prepare in the Zucker Family Production Kitchen.
Thanks to a generous grant from Food Lion Feeds, the LCFB is piloting a program to fight veteran hunger in Charleston County. With meals created in the Zucker Family Production Kitchen, we deliver complete, nutritious meals, three times per week, and provide fresh produce monthly to 120 veterans and their families who live in subsidized housing.
6. Government Programs
The Emergency Food Assistance Program
The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) is a federal program that helps supplement the diets of low-income Americans by providing them with emergency food assistance at no cost. TEFAP allows us to increase the amount of food available to our partner agencies. These commodity foods include a variety of shelf-stable products as well as fresh foods like milk, eggs, and produce.
The Commodity Supplemental Food Program
The Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP), often called “the senior box program”, is a federal program serving low-income seniors with a monthly box of nutritious food. Lowcountry Food Bank partners with churches and nonprofit organizations to serve qualifying seniors in Beaufort, Berkeley, Charleston, Dorchester, Georgetown, Horry, and Williamsburg counties. In addition to shelf-stable commodity foods such as canned fruit, vegetables, meat, cereal, and juice, Lowcountry Food Bank provides about five pounds of fresh produce to each recipient. For more information about CSFP, click here.
For more information on CSFP please call 843-747-8146 ext. 103.