SUMMER HUNGER | A Letter from our Executive Director
Hunger in our area is changing and affects all walks of life. Even with an economic upswing and low unemployment - stagnant jobs, rising cost of living and unemployment all play a factor in the changing face of hunger. Many of us are just one crisis, one job loss or health issue away from food insecurity. Families that live paycheck to paycheck can become food insecure overnight, meaning they may not know where their next meal is coming from. These families are forced to make difficult decisions, deciding between putting food in the fridge and healthcare; gas to get to work and breakfast for their kids; a healthy balanced meal or paying an electric bill.
South Carolina has established a self-sufficiency standard. This is the cost for a family to make ends meet in our community, also known as livable wage. According to a study by South Carolina Association of United Way, the livable wage in Beaufort County for one adult and one preschooler is $18.32/hour. This wage changes based on the size of the family. It's estimated that approximately 50% of our Bluffton population is working at or below this livable wage, putting families and children at risk for food insecurity.
Summer can cause an increase in costs for families seeking childcare as well as a decrease in support for families receiving free and reduced lunch at area schools. Last summer, Bluffton Self Help supported 95 kids on average, every month. We are on a mission to break the cycle of poverty in our community and more importantly compact food insecurity for families, seniors, children and adults. Fortunately, the rate of food insecurity continues to decrease because of donors and supporters like you. We depend on the Bluffton community for support to operate our Wellness Food Pantry with financial donations, volunteers and food drives. Thanks to you more than 2,100 residents in Bluffton had access to healthy, fresh, nutritious food. Keep supporting our mission and share with others because together we ARE making a difference in our community.