SC farmers donate fresh produce to local food banks in need

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GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA) – Over the course of the pandemic, many South Carolina farmers have been searching for for ways to distribute their produce to avoid disposing of it.

The South Carolina Department of Agriculture has established a privately funded program to supplement the already established USDA Farmers to Families Food Box program both of which help farmers distribute fresh produce to local food banks in the area.

“We found out that South Carolina didn’t quite get the participation that we hoped for, so this privately funded Farmers to Food Banks program is going to supplement that and hopefully our deliveries will be made prior to the USDA deliveries that will be coming in July,” S.C. Department of Agriculture, Commissioner Hugh Weathers said.

According to officials, the program has allowed farmers to donated $350,000 dollars worth of fresh produce to food banks around the state of South Carolina.

This program is a part of an effort to provide healthy food options to those in need and to give farmers the much needed relief they’ve been hoping for.

Francis Produce in Greenville is included in this program, and Harvest Hope food bank has been receiving truck loads of fresh fruits and vegetables.

“We are very fortunate that commissioner Weathers has asked us to participate in this program and we’re really excited for the opportunity. What we’re trying to do is offer relief to point in the supply chain that’s been particularly stressed,” Drew Francis, buyer at Francis Produce Company, said.

Phillips told 7 News he’s able to provide fresh produce to people who may not have had access to it before.

“We get two 18 wheelers per day, that’s 48 pallets of produce. On Fridays we have mobile pantries, and last Friday we went to Laurens for mobile pantry with the produce and we touched 500 families,” Barry Phillips, branch director at Harvest Hope food bank, said.

To learn more about the Farmers to Food Banks program, please visit the S.C Department of Agriculture website.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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