Harvest Hope off to a good start, with a long way to go

Just an update on Harvest Hope Food Bank’s urgent appeal for operating funds, which I told you about back here.

Since that Tuesday press conference, which ADCO was honored to help with, the media reaction has been gratifying. All four local commercial TV stations showed up and reported — some of them doing followups. As for print — Harvest Hope’s appeal got the lede position on the front page of The State Wednesday, and on Thursday The Greenville News (Harvest Hope also has a significant presence in Greenville) played the story as its front-page centerpiece.

There will be follow-up coverage. But going forward, the ball is in the court of potential donors — some of whom have responded already to the initial repeal to double-match the generous $150,000 match pledge from Mungo Homes.

As of today, the cash raised since Tuesday was $37,477. And I was gratified to hear from Harvest Hope staffer Bryan Rurey that:

We also had an online gift that directly referenced Brad’s Blog!

Cool. Now which one a you crazy lugs did that? Whoever it was, good on you.

Now 37 grand is a great start, but just a start toward the $2 million that’s needed by June. In fact, it’s just a start toward double-matching the Mungo grant. So tell everyone you know, we need this thing to start snowballing.

To recap the salient points:

Each year since the economic crisis began, the need has been greater than the year before. Harvest Hope is now feeding 91 percent more families than it did in 2008.

Fixed costs, aside from food and capital needs, have risen dramatically. It now costs $3,100 a DAY to fuel the vehicles that distribute the food, and that’s only going to go up.

As the need and costs have risen, cash donation have dropped over the last few months. Some regular donors, people who used to give monthly, have even told Harvest Hope that they are just a step away from having to avail themselves of the charity’s services.

For the first time ever, the “giving season” donations that tend to flow in from September to December were not enough to pay off the line of credit that carries HH through the lean spring and summer. Always in the past, that operating debt was paid off by Jan. 1. At the start of this year, the organization was a million dollars in the hole — this despite operational expense cutbacks.

All of that adds up to an urgent need for $2 million to fill that hole, and to cover the expected increase in operating expenses for the next few months.

This is not just Harvest Hope’s problem; it’s a significant challenge to the 22 counties it serves. Because other entities that feed the hungry in those communities — churches, secular nonprofits, what have you, 450 member agencies in all — depend on Harvest Hope to supply the food. This, folks, is South Carolina’s version of an organization that is “too big to fail.”

Finally, I’ll reiterate the political angle. We hear a lot of talk from the dominant political faction in South Carolina about relying on government less and the private sector more when it comes to providing a safety net for the “deserving poor.” Well, folks, in this  part of South Carolina, Harvest Hope IS the private sector’s means of feeding the hungry.

Oh, and at Harvest Hope you don’t find the “culture of dependency” problem that certain politicians like to go on about. Typically, if Harvest Hope is able to take care of a family’s emergency food needs for three months running, it gets them through the crisis so they can get back on their feet. And only 1 percent of clients are on TANF (what remains of “welfare as we knew it”) benefits.

So what are you waiting for? Time to step up, and give. Here’s how:

  • Visit the donor page at www.harvesthope.org.
  • If you have received a mailing from Harvest Hope, please use the convenient reply envelope that came with it.
  • Send a check to Harvest Hope, 2220 Shop Road, Columbia, SC  29201.

7 thoughts on “Harvest Hope off to a good start, with a long way to go

  1. Brad

    Ya crazy lug!

    Oh, wait — I don’t think a woman can be a “lug.” I’m not sure, because I don’t have a copy of the Old Hollywood Cornball Dialogue Dictionary at hand.

    How about: Ya dizzy dame, ya!

    The “crazy lug” line would of course be delivered along with a mock sock to the jaw (if there’s an emoticon for that, I don’t know what it would be — I’m not sure people often express that particular sentiment anymore). I don’t recall what sort of abashedly affectionate gesture goes with “dizzy dame.” Now, where did I put that dictionary…

  2. Doug Ross

    Hey, I donated and DEFINITELY referenced your blog in the “in honor of” box. Can I be a lug too?

  3. Brad

    Ya crazy lug! (Slow-mo mock sock to the jaw…)

    By the way, I just learned that in THIS century, LUG means something very different… But I mean it in the old sense…. I’m like Miniver Cheevy, born too late… I’d have been SO at home in the 1940s, except for the lack of Twitter…

  4. Brad

    But you know, back then a newsman didn’t NEED Twitter. Whenever you were moved to file a short update, you picked up a phone (in a booth), called the city room, and said to the switchboard operator, “Sweetheart, get me rewrite!”

    When rewrite answered, you’d say “New lede! And let’s make it snappy!”

  5. martin

    I’m real curious about why they fuel vehicles at $3,100 a day to 22 counties.

    Can’t they hit on CSX or whatever train company to donate a train car to get that food out to the communities? People in Columbia might not know, but there is a train track through the middle of most of the tiniest little crossroads communities in the state. They definitely exist in every county seat, sidings and all. It’s a whole lot greener, too.

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