WINNSBORO — Ben Arnold Beverage Co. recently made its annual donation to the Fairfield Community Food Bank. Ben Arnold’s president, Sean O’Conner, not only donated tubs of canned foods and boxed meals, but also presented a $5,000 check.
Ben Arnold makes the donation every year, and executive assistant Kensey Elder said the they held an employee food drive that started two weeks before the donations were given on Nov. 25. Ben Arnold vice president of marketing Marty Fettig said the $5,000 check also plays a vital role in providing support to the food bank.
“They (food bank) need the cash more than food this time of year because people are so generous already and are donating food,” he noted. “But the money can be saved for the summer time when kids are not being fed by the schools.”
The Fairfield Community Food Bank has been serving Fairfield County since 1986, and assistant coordinator Diane Williams said on average they give a family $70 worth of groceries. The amount of food is based on family size. Because of the great need, a family can only receive help once every 90 days and the food bank serves anywhere from 18-20 families on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
“I cannot tell you how much we appreciate this (donation),” Williams said. “Sometimes we don’t always get what we need, which is why Ben Arnold’s donation is so important.”
In the instance where a family cannot receive help from the food bank, Williams recommended using other resources like Harvest Hope or the food bank in Greenbrier. The Fairfield Community Food Bank serves over 100 families per month.
“We’re seeing a lot of families that we’ve never seen before and we’re out of so many things,” Williams stated. “We really need things that people don’t have to cook. Things that are easy for children to make while their parents aren’t home.”
The food bank is asking donors for things like bread, shelf-life milk and little boxes of cereal.
All donations are given for those in need by churches, civic groups, individuals and other organizations. The food bank can only accept non-perishable food items, since they do not have refrigeration. Deliveries are accepted during normal hours from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Tuesday and Thursday. You can also call 803-635-9234 to make a delivery appointment at time other than normal hours of operation.
Williams suggested people, churches or organizations become involved by joining the “Adopt-a-Food” program.
“When people adopt an item we know we can count on that item to be there every week and is a huge help for our planning,” she said.
Adopt-a-Food was established to help the food bank know exactly which items will be bought on a regular basis. Selected items can be brought by weekly, bi-weekly or monthly. Adopt-a-Food items included flour, corn meal, canned vegetables, canned fruits, canned meat, rice and beans. For a complete list of items available to adopt email Williams at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To become eligible for assistance visit the Department of Social Services and fill out a referral form and return it to the food bank. Williams said the need for food grows even higher during the summer months when children are out of school. Clients are encouraged to arrive early due to a limited number of families that can be served in this time period.
Since 2009, the food bank has averaged giving assistance to 1,343 families and 2,748 individuals per year. During the month of November the food bank has already given assistance to 125 families, 208 individuals and 61 children.
“This is still a church related mission,” Williams noted. “Everyone here is a volunteer and none of this could be done with all of their help.”