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Mission
West Columbia-Cayce Food Policy Coalition works to ensure quality food access and equity to address food insecurity while supporting all local farmers and food workers.

Vision
We will eliminate food deserts so that every neighborhood has access to healthy foods. Together we will defeat food insecurity through addressing transportation barriers, creating successful partnerships, establishing equitable food resources and offerings, and policy and advocacy outreach.

We are proudly funded by South Carolina SNAP-ed. Visit scsnaped.sc.edu for more information on the program.

Food Insecurity

Food insecurity refers to of lack of access, at times, to enough food for an active, healthy life for all household members and limited or uncertain availability of nutritionally adequate foods. Food-insecure households are not necessarily food insecure all the time. Food insecurity may reflect a household’s need to make trade-offs between important basic needs, such as housing or medical bills, and purchasing nutritionally adequate foods.1 Food insecurity may be long term or temporary. It may be influenced by a number of factors including income, employment, race/ethnicity, and disability. The risk for food insecurity increases when money to buy food is limited or not available.2

Neighborhood conditions may affect physical access to food. For example, people living in some urban areas, rural areas, and low-income neighborhoods may have limited access to full-service supermarkets or grocery stores. Predominantly black and Hispanic neighborhoods have fewer full-service supermarkets than predominantly white and non-Hispanic neighborhoods. Communities that lack affordable and nutritious food are commonly known as “food deserts.” Convenience stores and small independent stores are more common in food deserts than full-service supermarkets or grocery stores. These stores may have higher food prices, lower quality foods, and less variety of foods than supermarkets or grocery stores. Access to healthy foods is also affected by lack of transportation and long distances between residences and supermarkets or grocery stores.3

According to 2019 research, there are 26,520 food insecure persons in Lexington County and the food insecurity rate is 9.1%.4

1 https://www.feedingamerica.org/ 2 https://www.healthypeople.gov/ 3 https://www.healthypeople.gov/ 4 https://www.feedingamerica.org/

Helpful Resources

The Senior Supplemental Food Box Program is designed to assist low-income senior citizens aged 60 and older with a supplemental food box. These boxes are distributed once a month.

The Brookland Community Food Bank in partnership with Harvest Hope Food Bank, The Brookland Foundation, and Lexington County is open to the public and serving low-to-moderate income individuals and families throughout the Midlands of South Carolina. In our fight against food insecurity, The Brookland Community Food Bank distributes nutritious food and other essentials to those in need while working with community partners to develop strategies to end hunger.

The Brookland Community Food Bank in partnership with Harvest Hope Food Bank, The Brookland Foundation, and Lexington County is open to the public and serving low-to-moderate income individuals and families throughout the Midlands of South Carolina. In our fight against food insecurity, The Brookland Community Food Bank distributes nutritious food and other essentials to those in need while working with community partners to develop strategies to end hunger.

The Farmers Market and Food Promotion Program does the following:

  1. Works to create a community-based food system that will serve not only the immediate residents of West Columbia but also residents of greater Lexington and Richland Counties, where food is grown, distributed, and consumed by its residents.
  2. Increases access to fresh local produce for community residents; incorporating training and educational programs, and creating jobs and entrepreneurial opportunities for youth.
  3. Develops 45 roadside stands, 2 community gardens, 2 farmers markets, and new market opportunities for farm and ranch operations serving local markets.
  4. Develops BLEC’s current after-school youth training program with a complementary curriculum and annual program delivery that formal offers training in nutrition, food service, gardening/growing practices, and entrepreneurial avenues.
  5. Scales-up the existing food distribution program and existing partnership with other entities, along with developing new partnership with other entities.

Register for an upcoming FREE, six-week Cooking Matters Course for Adults!

The Lexington County Public Library supports the development of community gardens at their different branches located through the County.  The South Congaree-Pine Ridge Branch currently has active gardens sites that are used for community education and outreach initiatives and are operated by local residents.  The Batesburg-Leesville branch has raised beds in place, but there are currently no active initiatives or participants.

Seniors Farmers Market Nutrition Program – The Seniors Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (SFMNP) is designed to:

  1. Provide low-income senior citizens aged 60 and older with access to locally grown fruits, vegetables, honey, and herbs.
  2. Increase the domestic consumption of agricultural commodities through farmers’ markets, roadside stands, and community supported agricultural programs.
  3. Aid in the development of new and additional farmers’ markets, roadside stands, and community support agricultural programs.

The BLEC is the only distribution site in Lexington County.

The Coalition also has a direct relationship with the SC Food Policy Council which is a statewide organization that strives to advance the production and consumption of healthy foods in SC through education and strategic policy planning.   Participating as a member of the SC Food Policy Council presents excellent statewide networking and educational opportunities.  In addition, the SC Food Policy Council is a partner on the Growing Local SC project, which formalizes a cross-sector local food system network aspiring to cultivate a thriving, equitable, inclusive, resilient, and just food economy providing access to healthy food for all. A 2021 investment from the USDA will better enable this network to: Connect and cultivate South Carolina’s local food economy; develop a plan centered on addressing systemic inequities in the state’s food system; catalyze action to address farmland loss; increase the capacity of the local food system, and refine metrics for measuring partnerships.

Summer Break Café – In partnership with USDA and S.C. Department of Education: Summer Break Café’ (formerly summer feeding program).

Summer Break Café’ is designed to provide free meals to children during the summer months. When schools let out for the summer, many children are at risk of hunger and malnutrition. The lack of nutrition during the summer months can result in poor performance once the school year begins and makes children more prone to illnesses and other health issues. Summer Break Café’ is designed to fill that nutrition gap and make sure children can get the nutritious meals they need.
All children under the age of 18 are eligible to receive a free meal, usually breakfast and lunch.

BLEC is a sponsor of the Summer Break Café’ Program and currently provides hot nutritious meals to nine (9) campsites in partnership with Richland County Parks and Recreation, Piney Grove AME Church (All Feeding Sites), and Brookland Banquet and Conference Center (The Food Vendor).
The program also includes wraparound support from No Kid Hungry Grant to provide packaging supplies, fresh produce, and other support to summer feeding sites.

The Julius Felder Coalition For Change, a 501C3 Federal and State Exempt Neighborhood Organization was founded in 2000 by Dr. Shirley McClerkin-Motley and Rev. Julius Felder. It was organized to be a liaison between the community and the educational, judicial, and legal systems as well as religious organizations. Our shining light is the Julius Felder Community Garden as a result of a grant from SC Healthy Initiative in 2013.  The Coalition enjoys a very productive relationship with the City of Cayce and has partnered with them numerous times. The Coalition at times has been small in number but very successful in looking out for the well-being of our community.

Alianza Latina of the Midlands is a Hispanic/Latine networking and outreach organization serving in the Midlands region of South Carolina. It focuses on connecting organizations and individuals to resources and advocating for equitable provision of services amongst the Hispanic/Latine population of the Midlands.

Alianza Latina of the Midlands supports the Growing Local SC project through the outreach to the Hispanic/Latine community of the Midlands region and South Carolina at large. Through building the technical capacity of local and regional coalitions that tackle food insecurity, Alianza Latina of the Midlands is well-positioned to connect Hispanic/Latine community members to programs and services and generate recommendations and strategies that facilitate these initiatives.

Our Partners

Contact:

Dr. Cindye Richburg Cotton

Email: : crichburgcotton@brookland.cc

Office: (803) 744-1975

Kristopher J. Jones

Email: kjones@brookland.cc

Office: 803.744.7914

HELP CHANGE THE COMMUNITY

Your time and generosity help to increase access to healthy foods, senior citizen programs, job training and more for the families in the community.

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