Monday, January 11, 2010

As we begin the new year as well as the new decade, I would like to take a moment to count our many blessings. Harvest Hope has benefited from an abundance of blessings over the last year. Those blessings have come to us in the form of donations stemming from the enormous compassion and generosity of so many in the Midlands who care for their neighbors. To the many who have helped us get through the most trying period of want and need in our history I can only express our deepest gratitude and the assurance that your heart-felt contributions went far toward relieving the suffering of thousands in our community.

As we count the count the blessings of last year, we look ahead to the new year and see the need is still critical, but it is a need I know that we can meet with continued support from our many generous patrons and donors. I want everyone who helped us meet the incredible needs we faced last year, and in truth, all the years we have strived to feed the hungry in our community, to know that everyday we look at you as treasures.

Treasures are precious and favored things that we hold close to our hearts. For the Harvest Hope Food Bank, our treasures are the many donors, patrons, agencies, board members, volunteers, community partners and staff members who remain committed to ensuring that the hungry in our community can rely on us for food when they need it. Our treasures are also our clients, the individuals and families and children who are thrown into economic turmoil and cannot, despite their best efforts, meet the needs of putting enough food on their tables. As you serve, you are a treasure. As you receive, you are also a treasure. We think of all of you as being inside the treasure chest we call Harvest Hope.

In thinking about the collective group I count as the treasures of Harvest Hope, I’m aware that maybe you need to know more about what we do here at the food bank. Maybe you need to know more about the size and scope of our operation, the ways we receive and distribute food to the hungry. The ways that we attack hunger and strive to defeat the anxiety of need. The easiest way for everyone to see what we do and learn about our operation is to take an H.O.P.E. (Helping Our People Eat) tour at one of our Emergency Food Bank and distribution centers. A forty-five minute H.O.P.E. tour is a fascinating and educational way to learn how we receive, store and disperse the tons of food that arrive here daily. A tour will show you the many facets of transportation we deal with as well as the complexities of food issues such as product safety and USDA standards compliance. You will see the challenges we face in receiving, processing and then distributing 30 million pounds of food throughout 20 different counties every year. Seeing what we do here everyday is the best way to understand how complex and mammoth our operations truly is. Just as important, you will also see the faces of those who are at the end of their rope and who come to us in need. You will learn the ways we greet them and determine how we can best help them keep food on their tables.

Frequently we hear from those who visit and take our tour say how surprised they are at the size and scope of our operation. They are often awed by the expanse of our warehouse, the towering racks of food and the vast quantities of product handled by our staff and flowing daily through our facility. It changes the ways they think about our mission of feeding the hungry.

We at Harvest Hope open our doors and welcome the opportunity for everyone in the community to see how we meet the increasing demand of providing food to the hungry. We would like for you to open yourselves up to learning more about what we do and how we do it. We offer tours of our Shop Road facility during the day or in the early evening, although I recommend touring during operating hours from 9:00 am until 5:00 pm to observe and appreciate the full extent of our daily activities. I can assure you that at no time during the tour do we ask for or expect donations. It is purely an educational and learning experience.

We also extend invitations to tour our Florence and Greenville food banks. Each facility faces unique challenges in meeting their own local needs, and touring those locations sheds different perspectives on the ways that Harvest Hope tailors its hunger relief outreach. For individual information on H.O.P.E. tours, please see the following contact specifics:

  • Columbia location:
    2220 Shop Road
    (803) 254-4432

  • Pee Dee (Florence) location:
    2513 West Lucas Street
    (843) 661-0826
  • Greater Greenville Area
    5200 Pelham Avenue, Suite A
    (864) 281-3998

I know after you have been to the heart of our outreach you will have a broader perspective on Harvest Hope and the message of our humanitarian mission. I am asking for your assistance this year to help spread the knowledge of that mission, and to share your experience with the people who are your individual treasures and invite them to take a tour of Harvest Hope.

Let’s make 2010 the year that we not only display the work of Harvest Hope to our treasures, but work to build a larger treasure chest. Let’s maintain the good work we have done and continue to meet the needs of those who need our helping hands.

I look forward to hearing from you and seeing you soon.

Denise Holland

For Where Your Treasure Is, There Your Heart Will Be Also ~ Matthew 6:19-24

We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.  ~ Thornton Wilder

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