ESMMSC Funds Food Insecurity Initiatives, Creates Interactive Local Food Sources Map

Eat Smart Move More South Carolina (ESMMSC) was awarded $50,000 from The One SC Fund: COVID-19 Response, a fund housed at Central Carolina Community Foundation, to provide an immediate need to healthy foods to communities and to create an interactive map to help community members find healthy food sources across the state. ESMMSC also worked with Healthy Palmetto to establish a physical activity resources page.

“We were able to feed hundreds of families in the targeted counties during a time of great uncertainty for families that normally do not have to worry about where their food will come from,” says Meg Stanley, executive director of ESMMSC. “For some of these communities that we served, this was the first time they received fresh produce from an organized food distribution site.”

Approximately $46,000 was distributed to 40 organizations across the state to address food insecurity gaps, such as fresh produce and personal protective equipment purchases, and transportation to get the food to community members. Community organizations in the following counties were funded: Allendale, Bamberg, Beaufort, Charleston, Chester, Dillon, Dorchester, Fairfield, Greenville, Greenwood, Hampton, Horry, Jasper, Kershaw, Lancaster, Laurens, Richland, Marion, Spartanburg, Williamsburg, and York.

In addition to funding community food insecurity needs, ESMMSC also invested in a new online interactive map of healthy food sources.

“Anyone can use the map to search for local healthy food sources that are being offered at low- or no-cost,” says Stanley. “We need organizations that have food programs, like summer feeding sites, food banks, food pantries, and other food programs, to add their services to the map to make it more comprehensive.”

Like the databases released on the ESMMSC website in March, the map features location, contact, operations, and other helpful information for individuals and families seeking help accessing healthy foods. There’s also a tab for organizations that provide services in Spanish, those that are implementing safety practices related to COVID-19, and ways to give back to local organizations featured on the map.

In addition to the interactive map, community members can also access physical activity resources on ESMMSC’s COVID-19 Resources page. Developed by Healthy Palmetto, the state coalition of organizations that collectively address healthy eating, active living, and healthy weight for the Live Healthy SC State Health Improvement Plan, the new page provides ways individuals and families can stay active while social distancing.

The One SC Fund: COVID-19 Response is a collaborative statewide response to food, shelter, health, and nonprofit sustainability needs stemming from the coronavirus pandemic. The fund enhances and complements the efforts already underway in several counties and regions across South Carolina and is addressing gaps in the response efforts, including support for communities that lack resources or an organized philanthropic response. The effort also provides an outlet for statewide, regional, and national funders interested in supporting the COVID-19 response in South Carolina.