Ranks Of Hungry Swell Across South Carolina

Maj. Bobby Lancaster, The Salvation Army’s Greenville area coordinator, says food goes out almost as fast as it come in at the food pantry. / HEIDI HEILBRUNN/Staff

One in four families with children didn’t have enough to eat, data show.

By Liv Osby

9:51 PM, Aug. 11, 2011

A recent spike in the number of families needing food has left the cupboards bare at the Salvation Army food pantry.

“It used to be 20 to 25 families coming in on a daily basis, but it’s now about 100 families per day,” said spokeswoman Pamela Garcia. “It’s going out as fast as we’re getting it in.”

More than one in four families with children in South Carolina — 28 percent — didn’t have enough to eat at some point during a 12-month period in 2009-2010, according to the nonprofit Food Research and Action Center.

The rate was 21 percent for households without children.

Ten of the 15 states with the highest rates of food insecurity were in the South.

With more than 1 million people hungry at some point, South Carolina ranks 13th nationally in food hardship, said Sue Berkowitz, director of South Carolina Appleseed Legal Justice Center.

“Things are getting worse here and around the country,” she told GreenvilleOnline.com.

And that jibes with what area assistance agencies are reporting as the state unemployment rate ticked up to 10.5 percent in June from 10 percent in May. Continue reading