Harvest Hope lays off 10 employees following busy summer - FOX Carolina 21

Harvest Hope lays off 10 employees following busy summer

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Harvest Hope's nearly empty shelves earlier this week. (Source: WIS) Harvest Hope's nearly empty shelves earlier this week. (Source: WIS)
Throughout August the food bank provided hunger relief to an average of 410 families a day. (Source: WIS) Throughout August the food bank provided hunger relief to an average of 410 families a day. (Source: WIS)
COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) -

Harvest Hope Food Bank has let ten employees go following a busier than average summer.

The food pantry notified the ten regular staff members yesterday that they were being laid off.

Spokesman Skot Garrick characterized the move as "tightening our belts," and cutting expenses in response to a significant increase in people seeking assistance.

In July alone, Harvest Hope served 2,800 more families than the previous July. Throughout August, the food bank provided hunger relief to an average of 410 families a day.

Harvest Hope's four food pantries across the state have been struggling to keep up with the increase of people needing assistance and have served more than 10,000 households, said CEO Denise Holland earlier this week.

Harvest Hope employees say their emergency food pantries in Columbia, Lexington, Florence and Greenville have been extremely busy, and with a policy to never turn anyone away, their food supply has been depleted.
     
The numbers of families they helped in July alone matches the number they usually serve in November, which is always their busiest month of the year.

"Yes we hear that the economy is improving but for people who worry about having food and having a place to live, and is their car working, or medical care or, you know, can we pay utilities I mean there are all those sorts of things," said Holland before the layoffs were announced. "We are still seeing an incredible amount of people and all those sorts of things are reasons being presented to us as to why people need food."

Garrick says the layoffs are completely unrelated to an upcoming evaluation by an organization called Feeding America.

That evaluation is a standard audit food banks operating under the Feeding America program have to go through on a routine basis.

Garrick says Harvest Hope is not in financial trouble, nor insolvent.

A representative with Feeding America said Harvest Hope is in good standing with the organization.

Copyright 2014 WIS. All rights reserved.

Harvest Hope Food Bank notified ten regular staff members yesterday they are being laid off.

Spokesman Skot Garrick characterized this as "tightening our belts"---i.e., cutting expenses in response to a significant increase in people seeking assistance.

He says the layoffs are completely unrelated to an upcoming evaluation by the organization called Feeding America.

That evaluation is something food banks operating under the Feeding America program have to go through on a routine basis.

Garrick says Harvest Hope is not in financial trouble, nor insolvent.

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