Lowcountry Food Bank On the Way to $5 Million Goal with Over $2.5 Million Raised

CHARLESTON, S.C., June 4 /PRNewswire/ -- The Lowcountry is facing a startling threat: Hunger! In the effort to continue its vital mission of feeding and educating the poor and hungry of South Carolina, the Lowcountry Food Bank launched a $5 million Growing Forward Campaign to find a new home. After completing Phase I of the campaign by raising $2.5 million, the Lowcountry Food Bank was able to acquire its new 60,000 square foot facility to house its expanded distribution center. This centralized headquarters location will serve 14 percent of Lowcountry residents who are at risk for going hungry and the nearly 55,000 children who go hungry in coastal South Carolina each day.

"As the costs for the basic sustenance for a family continues to rise, the Lowcountry Food Bank is playing an ever increasing role in combating hunger throughout the Greater Charleston Region," said North Charleston Mayor R. Keith Summey. "An organization with such an overwhelmingly successful capital campaign is confirmation of the Lowcountry Food Bank's resounding support from the community. I am excited to see the Lowcountry Food Bank's new facility opening in North Charleston, centrally located, to best serve the Lowcountry's residents in need."

Conveniently located along the South Carolina coast, the Lowcountry Food Bank's new Community Food and Nutrition Center is nearly twice the size of the organization's current 37,000 square foot location. In 2007, the Lowcountry Food Bank distributed over nine million pounds of food throughout the 10 coastal county areas of South Carolina. With this new facility, the organization will be able to reach their goal of distributing 18 million pounds of food a year by 2013, a 93.5 percent increase!

After completing a major renovation, the Community Food and Nutrition Center will house a complete warehouse and distribution center, along with a new staff wing for the organization's 30 full-time staff members. In addition, the new building will accommodate an agency training center that will supply in-house agency workshops and training and nutrition seminars, a volunteer workroom for those providing more than 21,000 volunteer hours each year, and a BackPack Buddies packing room where volunteers and staff will pack and distribute more than 4,000 backpacks to Lowcountry school children annually.

"The Lowcountry Food Bank has continued to work hard to bring civil awareness to the plight of the poor and the hungry throughout the coastal counties of South Carolina," said Mount Pleasant Mayor Harry M. Hallman, Jr. "The relocation to this new building will greatly facilitate the redistribution of food products in a timely and effective manner and will allow the Lowcountry Food Bank to better serve those who are in pressing need of food services."

After facing the loss of their current building to the Noisette redevelopment project, the Lowcountry Food Bank launched the Growing Forward Campaign to keep their doors open while striving to reduce hunger in the Lowcountry. Through hundreds and thousands of pledges and donations, along with corporate and individual sponsorships, Phase I brought in $2.5 million. With the launch of Phase II, the Growing Forward Campaign goal is to obtain $1.5 million in additional pledges, donations and sponsorships. Phase II proceeds will go toward renovations of the new Community Food and Nutrition Center, including the purchase of new food processing systems and freezers, roof repairs, updated distribution docks and the addition of the building's production kitchen and repack center.

Another aspect of the Growing Forward's Phase I was selecting a chairman for the campaign. Beginning January 1, 2008, Shawn Jenkins, President and CEO of local healthcare technology company, Benefitfocus(R), took over the role of chairman. As Chair, Jenkins is committed to the mission of the Lowcountry Food Bank and the objectives and goals of the Growing Forward Campaign. Serving alongside the Lowcountry Food Bank Executive Director, Jermaine Husser, Jenkins will help provide guidance, leadership and enthusiasm for the Growing Forward executive committee.

"It is an honor to be part of such a critical campaign, which supports the Lowcountry coastal citizens who are in need of healthy food and nutrition," shared Jenkins. "The money we are raising will build a foundational legacy to serve the needs of those in the future and help in our quest to end hunger."

"Serving others is the heartbeat of our organization as we work together to feed the poor and hungry and educate the public about domestic hunger solutions," stated Husser. "Everyday the Lowcountry Food Bank witnesses the real strength of its mission in the vital bridges it builds between local industry and community service organizations. Acquiring a new location for our Community Food and Nutrition Center is essential to continuing our operations. The Growing Forward Campaign will help us successfully fund this need."

About The Lowcountry Food Bank

The Lowcountry Food Bank is a member of America's Second Harvest-the nation's Food Bank Network, the largest provider of emergency food distribution in the United States. The Lowcountry Food Bank is a clearinghouse for donated food products that are distributed to a network of more than 320 member agencies including soup kitchens, homeless shelters and emergency food pantries. The Lowcountry Food Bank's mission is feed the hungry of the 10 coastal counties of South Carolina by soliciting and distributing healthy food and grocery products to nonprofit agencies serving the poor and by educating the public about the problems of and solutions to domestic hunger. For more information, visit www.lowcountryfoodbank.org or call (843) 747-8146.

SOURCE The Lowcountry Food Bank

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