The Lowcountry Food Bank has been the leading hunger-relief organization in the 10 coastal counties of South Carolina for over 36 years. As a member of Feeding America, the mission of the Lowcountry Food Bank is to lead the fight against hunger in our community. Every year, the Lowcountry Food Bank feeds more than 200,000 children, seniors, veterans and adults who struggle to access nutritious food through a network of partners including schools and nearly 300 non-profit and faith-based organizations. In 2019 alone, the Lowcountry Food Bank distributed more than 32.1 million pounds of food to individuals facing hunger across coastal South Carolina.
Carnival Foundation has been supporting the Lowcountry Food Bank since 2013 and has provided grants and in-kind donations to support our child hunger-relief programs in Charleston County where more than 12,500 children do not have consistent access to the nutritious food they need to live healthy and active lives. The most recent grant from the Carnival Foundation will support the distribution of nutritious food to more than 1,000 children through our BackPack Buddies weekend hunger-relief program.
The BackPack Buddies program helps to alleviate weekend hunger among food-insecure public school children by distributing backpacks full of nutritious and kid-friendly food each Friday during the school year (38 weeks total). The LCFB works closely with more than 20 partner schools in Charleston County to identify the most chronically food-insecure children to enroll in the program. Each backpack contains four pounds of easy-to-open, kid-friendly foods balanced across all of the food groups. Each month during the school year, volunteers assemble the packs of food for the children enrolled in the program to receive each week. Then every Friday, the food is discreetly placed in the children’s backpacks so they can have nutritious food that otherwise would not have been available to them until they returned to school the next week. Because free and reduced-cost school meals are not available over the weekend, children from low-income families are particularly vulnerable to hunger during these times. School staff noted improvements among the students who participated in the BackPack Buddies program in the following areas: self-esteem, energy level, alertness, behavior, overall health, attendance and socialization.