Food deserts can be found almost anywhere in South Carolina, including popular metropolitan areas like North Charleston. The area is not booming anymore. The population has declined over the years to roughly 113,000 residents and the median household income is less than $40,000. That’s a stark contract compared to surrounding communities like Charleston, Mt. Pleasant, and Summerville.
Lowcountry Street Grocery (LSG), a mobile farmer’s market, recognized these disparities and the nutritional needs of the community. They’ve made healthy, affordable food and equity their mission, and they’ve been very successful in a short amount of time. So, when COVID-19 hit and they learned about Eat Smart Move More South Carolina’s Rapid Response Grant opportunity, they wasted no time in applying.
They were awarded a mini-grant to provide healthy food to community members in need due to the pandemic. In their application, LSG identified senior and other high-risk populations as their target to reduce grocery store trips in an effort to protect them from contracting the coronavirus. LSG was able to provide 85 free, fresh, and local grocery bundles to individuals and families in the Russdale, Ferndale, Liberty Park and Highland Terrace neighborhoods.
“We have long-standing partnerships with numerous community organizations which has allowed us to quickly respond to those in need during this crisis. However, with the assistance of this grant, we were able to offer fresh, local produce deliveries to neighborhoods that are considered to be low-food access with the assistance of a few key community partners that helped identify those in need,” said Olivia Myers, Lowcountry Street Grocery.
Myers added, “These relationships have ignited further conversation about how we can continue to serve the neighborhoods of Russdale, Ferndale, Liberty Park and Highland Terrace in a sustainable manner through our Staples program that incentivizes the Health Bucks Program. We plan to nurture long-standing relationships with these community leaders.”
LSG is a great example of knowing your community and the needs of its residents. Since the food distribution, LSG secured an additional partnership with Trident Agency Area on Aging who has agreed to provide funding for weekly grocery deliveries for a number of their members. They also anticipate working towards solidifying funding to be able to continue to provide fresh food for the individuals in the Russdale, Ferndale, Liberty Park and HIghland Terrace neighborhoods.