PIEDMONT – The Piedmont Emergency Relief Center is asking for help in making Christmas better for area’s needy.
Needs are up but donations are down for the annual Christmas Food Box effort that the center has done for about six years in Piedmont Powdersville, Williamston and Pelzer.
Donations help fill the boxes with ham, green beans, cornbread mix, milk, pudding and rice for a Christmas dinner. Usually donation by this time in the season pay for 100 dinners when purchased at the reduced rate from the Harvest of Hope Food Bank, the relief center’s director maria Hollis said.
Late last week, the center was funded for only 35 meals.
Hollis said the economy was difficult for organizations like her’s to deal with but she wasn’t sure that tells the whole story.
Overall donations to the food bank have been up slightly, she said.
Most of that increase came from programs promoted by Food lion and Save-a-Lot grocery store chains. Both companies actively promoted giving to the food bank, Hollis said.
But Hollis has seen significant increase in requests for food this year compared to last. 346 sought food from the center in November. That is up from around 200 last year.
She attributes a lot of that to the change in Food Stamp Distribution. Many lost Food Stamps Nov. 1, she said.
But the needs have been going on for many years.
Hollis said many in the community that has had a long history of textile employment really recovered from the decline of the textile industry and loss of jobs.
“We have a lot of older people who can’t make it on the money they get. Then there is the disabled.”