Loris Community Impacted Heavily by COVID-19

You’ve probably been through Loris a time or two on your way to Myrtle Beach. It’s a small, quaint town just a 20-minute drive to the thriving Myrtle Beach – a tourist destination full of jobs for locals in the hospitality business. When COVID-19 hit, life changed for many in Loris and the surrounding area due to unemployment. More people were experiencing food insecurity for the first time.

The Kingston Lake Education and Business Center in Loris applied for a Rapid Response Mini-Grant from Eat Smart Move More South Carolina to help with an influx of people in need of food as unemployment increased. The Center used existing partnerships with Kingston Lake Missionary Baptist Association, Help Hands, Black Venetians of Horry County, City of Loris, local churches, and others to promote their efforts.

“Our weekly food bank is over three years old, and COVID-19 has moved the number of people we serve from around 150 to, on average, over 500,” said Reverend Hattie Graham of the Kingston Lake Missionary Baptist Association. “The mini-grant was very helpful in providing food to our neighbors.”

Organizers were able to purchase 140 pounds of chicken and pay for transportation to Orangeburg, SC to pick up more than 100 boxes of donated fruits and vegetables from the Baptist Educational and Missionary Convention of South Carolina – a new partner for the Center. Not only did they serve the Loris community, but they also reached people in Longs, Green Acres, Cedar Branch, Red Buff, Finklea, Green Sea, Conway, Bucks Ports, Bayboro, and some in Tabor City, North Carolina.

Community organizations across South Carolina, like the Kingston Lake Education and Business Center, are stepping up to the challenges presented by the pandemic and connecting with new partners to get healthy foods to families and individuals in need. To learn more about the Center, visit their website or Facebook page.