Pantry volunteers at the Fort Mill Care Center understand their clients. Volunteers aren’t keen on asking for help either, but sure are glad to get it.
“We hate to ask Fort Mill,” said past pantry director and current volunteer Jan Arnold. “But when we do, it comes.”
Jeane Cassidy now leads the care center pantry. As July dipped into August, food stock was down and the center reached out to the Fort Mill Times, social media and others.
“Most of them are smaller donations,” Cassidy said of the response since, “but we’ve had some larger ones.”
Lt. Ray Dixon with the Fort Mill Police Department collected more than 2,800 pounds of food and $1,600 in donations through his Arrest Hunger food drive. The Hardee Boys, a group of men who meet regularly for breakfast at Hardee’s in downtown Fort Mill, brought in almost 900 pounds of food Aug. 11.
Lake Ridge residents pooled together 1,380 pounds of food for donation. The result: 84 donors and 8,958 pounds of food between Aug. 1 and Aug. 15. The care center also brought in $2,737 in that time through donations.
Dixon said his response was as simple as hearing a need, and deciding to do something about it.
“To us Fort Mill police officers, serving our community means a lot more than just conventional police work,” he said. “The back seat of a police car is usually a negative place so I decided to fill the backseat of a police cruiser with donated food items and make it a positive place for a change.”
Dixon hoped to fill up one police car.
“I had to call for back up,” he said. “Thanks to the good people of Fort Mill I was able to fill up my car and the area around it seven times.”
The Hardee Boys have been donating to the care center for years. They used to do it on Thanksgiving or Christmas, but decided their $5 group dues and other donations would buy food whenever the center was in need.
Leroy Atkins leads the effort, but credited the entire group with its constant help.
“I just want these guys to get a little recognition,” he said. “They work hard.”
In July the care center received 3,283 pounds of food from donations. The center gives out 8,385 pounds of food per month.
“The food donations that we have received so far in August are a little more than an additional month’s worth of food,” Cassidy said.
For more information on the care center, go to fortmillcarecenter.org.