Bargain shoppers and vendors at The World's Largest Yard Sale Saturday can offer nourishment to people less fortunate by bringing nonperishables for area food pantries.
United Way, postal carriers and The Herald have joined together to help replenish area food pantry stocks, dwindling in part because of poor economic conditions. The Herald is sponsoring its 11th annual yard sale from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday in the newspaper's parking lots at 132 W. Main St., Rock Hill.
The sale's United Way table also will help advertise letter-carriers' U.S. Postal Drive on May 10, when residents are asked to leave items such as soup, canned vegetables, pasta, rice or cereal in sturdy bag next to their mailboxes before their mail delivery.
"This is the time of year when food pantries drop off in food donations," said Lora Holladay, United Way community outreach director. "I think people don't remember it as much this year because going to the grocery store is so expensive. The economy is hitting home to folks. What they did two years ago, they aren't doing now."
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At the same time, the need has increased.
Jan Arnold at the Fort Mill Care Center said they had distributed 3,000 pounds of food to needy people before 11 a.m. Wednesday.
"We've had a lot of new people coming in with all the layoffs in the past month," said Agnes Carnes of Hope House in Rock Hill.
At the Salvation Army, Maj. Melody McClure said they are handing out about 10 percent more food baskets than they did this time last year.
"We have enough to last through the end of April," she said. "We'll just make our supplies stretch as long as we can. All the food pantries in town work together to make sure everyone is helped."
At Pilgrims' Inn, money for utility bills and prescriptions were depleted Tuesday for the rest of the month, said volunteer Latricia Watson.
Watson and McClure agreed that, while the volume of donations are down, more people who have not donated in the past are coming in with smaller quantities of food.
"I think people need to know that people are stepping forward in this time," McClure said.
Food pantries rely on the U.S. Postal Food Drive each year to restock bare cupboards, and Arnold suggested a longer-term solution.
"If everyone would donate a can for each member in their home, they could stock the food banks for four or five months instead of two."