GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA) – The YMCA of Greenville is tackling a critical issue in the Upstate. It has been working on for the last year but Friday, another major step in that effort was taken.

The tote bags were placed in a cargo van Friday, symbolizing much more than your typical grocery carrier. They’re a sign of hope and relief. They’re being placed in a vessel to carry on that mission.

Inside of what the YMCA of Greenville is calling their ‘Y on the Fly’ new van is Susan Beam. She is a big part of this initiative to feed the hungry in her community.

“The thing that was impactful was these poor neighborhoods that are right next to some of the most affluent areas of Greenville and once you see, you can’t unsee it,” said Volunteer with the YMCA of Greenville food program, Susan Beam.

She started helping when the YMCA of Greenville embarked on this journey in 2020, during a time when families were being greatly impacted by COVID-19.

“We’re serving a lot of families who live in motels. These families were brought to our attention during COVID when a lot of kids were having trouble, when school was out, getting access to food,” said Diana Watson with the YMCA of Greenville.

Diana Watson with the YMCA of Greenville told 7NEWS that they have only seen that need grow.

That’s what makes this cargo van so special. It’s a way to continue on that trek more efficiently, with the back stocked and ready to go. It’s giving them a chance to double the number of families they can feed.

“You can hand a bag of groceries to somebody and you can see the transformation, from despair of maybe not knowing how they’re going to feed their family that afternoon, to hope,” Beam explained.

Other than providing hunger relief, this van will also be used for a handful of other services for the community like educational and nutritional opportunities.

You can donate to the YMCA of Greenville and its mission here.