“It’s obviously a time of the year where we focus on the needs of the less fortunate,” said Theo Lane, Duke’s district manager of government and community relations. “I think it was an effort to recognize the needs of people at this time.”
On Thursday, Lane presented a display check to Food Bank of Greenwood Executive Director Andrea White and Pathway House Executive Director Anthony Price.
Each of their organizations is getting $10,000, as are the Lander University student food bank and the Piedmont Agency on Aging, which provides mobile meals to local seniors.
Duke is also giving $25,000 toward Greenwood County’s fire and EMS services, and $10,000 to provide free travel vouchers for Greenwood’s public transportation through the McCormick Area Transit. In total, Lane said Duke is giving $100,000 to local groups in need, including the Boys and Girls Club of the Lakelands, Greenwood Chamber of Commerce, Lander University’s nursing program and Piedmont Technical College’s MODELS Academy.
This time of year, as the weather gets colder and holidays near, demand skyrockets for local nonprofit services, Price said.
“When the cold weather arrives our bed usage at the Pathway House goes up by about 25%,” Price said. “When you’re almost full, 25% more bed usage — well, we’re packed.”
Demand is rising alongside the cost of food, so feeding the hungry is especially challenging this time of year, he said. Supplies are also limited, White said, as it can be hard to shop for items in bulk to serve the number of people coming to nonprofits for services.
“When we gave away turkeys last week, we still had people calling days later asking ‘Do you still have more,’” she said. “Fortunately we have good community partners like Publix, Food Lion and Walmart that donate the basic foods to meet that need.”
Even in a generous community, White said it’s a challenge to provide people access to healthy food. These funds from Duke will help, she said.
Duke Energy launched a monthlong campaign at the start of November to donate funds to help fight hunger throughout South Carolina.
According to a news release from Duke, the campaign provided about $250,000 to about 50 feeding programs statewide leading up to Thanksgiving.
Contact staff writer Damian Dominguez at 864-634-7548 or follow on Twitter @IJDDOMINGUEZ.