Upstate non-profits and Prisma Health launch new foodshare program, feeding 440 families

New food initiative hopes to fill gaps in access to food
Published: Feb. 3, 2023 at 10:01 PM EST
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GREENVILLE, S.C. (FOX Carolina) - A new food initiative will help fill the gaps in access to fresh and affordable food in Greenville county. It’s a USDA food share program called the Produce Prescription Initiative. Greenville is one of only a few South Carolina counties to get this funding.

“In our given economic climate, it’s becoming more and more of an issue,” said Sally Wills, the Executive Director of Live Well Greenville.

These days a trip to the grocery store can be costly for anyone and it’s more difficult for those already facing food insecurity.

“The fresh products like produce, like your proteins, tend to be the most expensive products that you put in your cart,” Wills explained.

That’s why a new program will be providing produce to some for free.

“While this program has been around for a long, long time South Carolina had not had a funded project yet” Wills said.

She’s talking about the new produce prescription initiative. This started back in 2021, when Wills’ organization partnered with Prisma Health to identify pediatric patients challenged by food insecurity. This year they received a grant from USDA to launch the food distribution program.

“The hope is through that course of that nine months to a year, families are getting closer and closer to being more food secure, having better access to healthy foods throughout the year” she said.

Volunteers will distribute fresh produce boxes to 440 families every other week. Over the next three years.

“Our main distribution hub is in Nicholtown, which is the most food insecure census track and Greenville County,” said Anna Baumgartner, the Foodshare Program Director at Mill Village Ministries.

A Furman University study identified 22 areas of the county with high rates of food insecurity. Mill Village Ministries already serves many of them. Now, they’ll be packing the boxes for this program.

“We buy all of our produce fresh, none of it is coming as secondhand or donation, it’s all fresh and grocery store quality,” said Baumgartner “We know that the food is going into the hands of people who really need it.”

Even if you don’t qualify for this program you can get involved. The same foodshare boxes with a grocery store value of $30 can be purchased for $5 with SNAP benefits. And they’re $20 for anyone else. You can also volunteer to distribute. For more information, click here.