Second Harvest Food Bank of Metrolina receives big check from Walmart; Coach Dabo gives special surprise

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ANDERSON COUNTY, SC (WSPA)–Experts said one and six people are facing hunger in South Carolina, and with September being Hunger Action Month, many A-listers have partnered with Walmart to feed thousands across the Upstate.

It was a blessing in disguise for Second Harvest Food Bank of Metrolina on Thursday morning.

“We have brought this check today for $50,000 to you all here at second harvest food bank,” said Joe Perkins, Store Manager at Walmart Neighborhood Market in Clemson.

Leaders said it was a needed contribution for the organization that has been burden with struggles during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It was a huge surprise for us to understand that we were going to receive this and with the challenges that we’re having right now through the COVID, the last five to six months we have found it very difficult to purchase food,” said Mike Luke, Chief Operating Officer, for Second Harvest Food Bank of Metrolina.

Luke said 75% of the products they receive are from donations, but that has decreased, leaving less to donate to food pantries in the Upstate.

“But the food insecurity rate, alone, it’s gone up in every one of the counties. We serve five counties from this warehouse. We serve Anderson that we’re in. We served the lower counties of Oconee and Greenwood, and then Pickens and Abbeville,” said Donal Dickens, Regional Branch Manager, with Second Harvest Food Bank of Metrolina.

Through Feeding America, Walmart stepped in to be hunger heroes for Second Harvest, along with the Low Country Food Bank in Charleston and Harvest Hope in Columbia.

“With one and six people facing hungry in the state of South Carolina alone, we realize it was a time for us to call for action and figure out what we can do more to help serve our communities, and we determined that we can take $150,000 contribution and split it throughout the state,” Perkins said.

They received help from Clemson’s Head Coach Dabo Swinney. Dabo’s video message was a complete surprise to Second Harvest.

“I wish we could be there with you at the food bank today, during this tough times. Please know we are all here to support you, because the only way we can get through this, is together,” said Coach Dabo.

While Coach Dabo didn’t contribute financially, those in charge of the food bank said they’re happy for his support and Walmart’s contribution.

“That will enable us to purchase approximately 350,000 pounds of food for every dollar, we can get about seven pounds of food,” Luke said. “So if you think about it, that’s 50,000 pounds of food which is about one and a half tractor trailers of food for each County, so that goes a long way,” he added.

Now, the kind gesture will go a long way to help thousands.

“It’s just very exciting and we’re very appreciative! Only hope that next time maybe Dabo can bring some of his guys up here and do some packing for us,” Luke said.

Repsentatives with Second Harvest Food Bank of Metrolina said they welcome donations from the community, especially monetary gifts. They said a few dollars can go a long way. To see how you can donate, click here.

Each of the three food banks received $50,000. Like Dabo, Darius Rucker sent a “Thank you” video to the Low Country Food Bank in Charleston. The University of South Carolina’s head coach, Will Muschamp, was a part of the presentation in Columbia.

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