Smiles, waves and wishes of “Happy Thanksgiving” were overflowing Monday morning as Orangeburg County School District administrators handed out boxes of food to a steady stream of recipients.
"Anytime we can help the community, that is what we are here for," OCSD Superintendent Dr. Shawn Foster said. "It is a tough time for many people and we want to make sure that any opportunity we can partner to help lighten the load on families, then we do it. This is a great time to lift up our community during Thanksgiving."
Lines of vehicles flowed through the school district headquarters parking lot on Founders Court through most of late morning Monday as nearly 1,400 food boxes were handed out.
The Orangeburg County Sheriff's Office, Orangeburg Department of Public Safety and district school resource officers helped with traffic flow.
The boxes contained chicken, cheese, milk, eggs, fruit and vegetables.
The district distributed the food in partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Save the Children.
"We recognize there is a need in Orangeburg," said Sonia Gass, state director of the Save the Children South Carolina.
Sen. Vernon Stephens, D-Bowman, said, "Considering the pandemic and how it is having an effect on the basic livelihoods of citizens in Orangeburg County, when I heard about this ... I came out to join hands in trying to distribute food to families in and around the county and school district.”
"I think this is a very worthy cause," Stephens said. "There are folks who are actually hungry. The pandemic has left them with depleted funds so they are trying to figure out ‘How am I going to have a happy Thanksgiving and I don't have the necessary funds to adequately prepare for a meal.’"
The giveaway was a part of the USDA Farmers to Families Food Box program. The program is a part of the USDA Coronavirus Food Assistance Program.
Over $3 billion has been allocated toward the program in a four-round food distribution process.