CHARLESTON, S.C. (Lowcountry Weekend) - In 1983, ground beef cost $1.29 per pound, the Mario Bros. game was introduced internationally, Star Wars VI - Return of the Jedi, and Tootsie were popular in movie theaters, Sally Ride made history as the first woman to visit outer space, and on Aug. 3, 1983, Lowcountry Food Bank was established. Lowcountry Food Bank (LCFB) is celebrating its 40th anniversary in Aug. 2023!
Celebrations to mark this 40th anniversary milestone were held in Charleston and Myrtle Beach last week. Anita Zucker, Chair - The InterTech Group, John Tecklenburg - Mayor, City of Charleston, Nick Osborne - President and CEO, Lowcountry Food Bank and Monica Scott - LCFB Board of Directors Chairperson welcomed guests at the LCFB Charleston Regional Food Center in North Charleston. A celebration in Myrtle Beach took place at Myrtle Beach Bowl, hosted by Larry Nowak - head of LCFB partner agency Faith Outreach Ministries.
Lowcountry Food Bank kicked off its 40th anniversary celebration at its 2023 Chefs’ Feast fundraiser gala in February. The celebration continues at the 3rd Annual Lowcountry Food Bank Walk to Fight Hunger on Sept. 10 at Wannamaker Park in North Charleston. The Walk is a fun-filled, family-friendly day, open to our community, that also brings awareness to hunger issues during Hunger Action Month in September, when communities across the country come together and take action to fight hunger.
“When Lowcountry Food Bank was formed 40 years ago, our founders had a vision to address the greater Charleston-area community health issue of hunger, which we now understand as food insecurity,” said Nick Osborne, Lowcountry Food Bank President and CEO. “When you fast-forward to 2023, our partner agencies and food pantries distribute 89% of the food we procure to neighbors who experience hunger throughout coastal South Carolina. In 2022, we distributed more than 40 million pounds of food and more than 33 million meals, including protein, fresh produce and dairy products, to 200,000 Lowcountry neighbors who experience food insecurity.”
LCFB’s original home was in Ladson, then the organization moved to the Charleston Naval Base. In 2008, LCFB moved to its current location in North Charleston on Azalea Drive with more than 60,000 square feet of operational space. As demand grew, operations expanded with facilities in Myrtle Beach and Yemassee to serve individuals, families, children and seniors across the 10 coastal counties of South Carolina.
In 2005, LCFB launched Growing Food Locally, an initiative to purchase fresh, locally-grown produce from small farms. LCFB has expanded these collaborations, most recently in partnership with the Gullah Farmers Co-op in St. Helena, SC.
The on-site Zucker Family Production Kitchen was created in 2010, which is essential in preparing meals for those the Food Bank serves, and the kitchen served its two millionth meal in 2021. LCFB piloted the Fresh for All program in 2014, a farmer’s market-style mobile food distribution model that meets neighbors who experience food insecurity in their own communities. In 2023, LCFB is articulating its strategic direction in further leading the fight against hunger by engaging its partners and listening to the voices of those with lived food-insecurity experience to shape its next strategic plan.
On the Horizon
LCFB will expand its presence in the southern-most counties it serves with a new, strategically located facility in Hampton County that will provide increased food storage capacity, new feeding programs, and greater engagement with our existing and growing number of partners in the southern, coastal SC region. The facility will serve as a hub for LCFB partners to convene, collaborate, and share learning opportunities.
“We believe that greater access to nutritious food can help break the cycle of hunger and alleviate food insecurity,” said Osborne. “Food is a basic human right, and we will continue to address the root causes of hunger to bring the food insecurity rate down further in the coastal counties we serve.”
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