June 7, 2014

Food pantry at Renew Our Community in ‘feast or famine’ cycle

Renew Our Community is looking to increase the amount of food donated to its pantry to better serve clients in need.

Every few weeks, the staff and volunteers at Renew Our Community snap pictures of nearly bare shelves and bins in the food pantry at the organization’s “Central” location on East White Street in Rock Hill.

Pictures are posted to social media, pleading for donations. Some come in, the shelves fill up. Days later, the cycle begins again.

Now, ROC wants to stop the “feast and famine” cycle, said community relations specialist Jenny Overman, and is asking the community to donate and to help the organization find ways to keep its food shelves full for clients.

ROC bills itself as a place where “people in need, crisis, or social emergency can find direction and are treated with dignity and respect.”

The organization provides services from job training to counseling. Clients are served snacks during the day, while the emergency food pantry helps people in crisis – like those who have run out of food stamps or just escaped an abusive home and haven’t gotten a spot in a shelter yet.

Unfortunately, those emergencies show up at ROC Central 10 to 15 times every day, Overman said.

If people were to just add ROC to their weekly grocery list and give a little whenever they can, ROC could keep a fully stocked pantry at all times, Overman said. Community and civic groups also could work to assist ROC, alleviating what’s become a major concern for the organization.

Organizers don’t want to have to turn someone away, but if donations don’t pick up, they may not have a choice.

“The best way to help is with small, regular donations from a lot of people,” Overman said.

ROC is encouraging community members to donate and to think of new ways to encourage others to do the same.

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