Lancaster County Food Desert Gets Temporary Relief

Like so many rural areas in South Carolina, the Town of Heath Springs in Lancaster County experiences the hardships of being in a food desert and not having easy access to healthy food. With social distancing and other restrictions in place, residents were facing more difficult uncertainties regarding feeding their families.

Heath Springs leaders heard about emergency food relief through Eat Smart Move More South Carolina and used the grant as an opportunity to jump-start sustainable change in its food system.

“As we continue to navigate the current national pandemic crisis, our Community Health Initiative is compelled to extend its community outreach project by providing a Food Distribution Day in the desolate Stoneboro community area,” said Dr. Zora Denson, a retired educator and the community-relations volunteer for Heath Springs.

Approximately 125 families in the targeted Stoneboro community received fresh produce boxes that contained enough fruits and vegetables to feed 1-2 people for one week. Through this project, the Community Health Initiative created four new partnerships.

“Due to the limited mobility of residents and lack of physical access to a local grocery store, this service afforded residents the opportunity to make healthier food choices associated with good nutrition,” said Dr. Denson. “The Town of Heath Springs used the funds to pre-pay for fruits and vegetables from Rich Hill Farms and FoodShare SC, and we distributed at free or reduced cost to Stoneboro residents.”

To address the food insecurity issue in the long-term, leaders are planning to further expand their efforts by discussing potential implementation of a monthly “pop-up” farmers market. The Lancaster County Health and Wellness Commission is working with FoodShare SC to bring the program to Lancaster.

For more information about the Town of Heath Springs, visit their website. To learn more about healthy eating and active living initiatives in Lancaster County, visit the Eat Smart Move More Lancaster County website.