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Lowcountry Food Bank’s 2024 Agency Conference helps empower its partner agencies and food pantries to better serve neighbors who experience food insecurity

CRBJ Biz Wire //May 14, 2024//

Lowcountry Food Bank’s 2024 Agency Conference helps empower its partner agencies and food pantries to better serve neighbors who experience food insecurity

CRBJ Biz Wire //May 14, 2024//

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Charleston, SC – Lowcountry Food Bank (LCFB) held its fifth Agency Conference at NewSpring Church in North Charleston on April 26. The LCFB Agency Conference is typically held every other year.

LCFB partner agencies are the backbone of LCFB’s business model and operations. Last year, LCFB partner agencies distributed 90% of the 42.8 million pounds of food distributed by LCFB, of which more than 40% was fresh produce.

LCFB procures, then distributes healthy food to 230+ partner agencies, including food pantries, on-site meal programs, and homeless shelters that give neighbors who experience food insecurity in the 10 coastal counties of South Carolina direct access to healthy food.

LCFB’s Agency Conference provides its partner agencies and food pantries with best practices for food service, connects them with resources that enhance and support their operations, and provides opportunities for professional development to help them best serve their communities. At the conference, agencies also gain a greater understanding of LCFB strategic initiatives that support equitable food access for Lowcountry neighbors and learn skills to further empower the neighbors they serve through nutrition education.

Conference breakout sessions were chosen based on partner agency preferences and by LCFB to maximize the opportunity for agencies to best serve their neighbors: Creating a Culture of Belonging and Connection, Volunteer Recruitment and Retention, Scenario Planning – a session that helps the neighbors we serve get the most out of the fruits and vegetables available, and a networking session to discuss challenges and solutions that come with managing a food pantry.

Keynote speaker Rev. Dr. Byron Benton, LCFB Board member and Senior Pastor of Mount Moriah Missionary Baptist Church in North Charleston, gave an inspirational and uplifting address to conference guests to kick off the event. Dr. Benton talked about the “power of community bonds and connections” and “how we are all a part of the same community.”

“In addition to enjoying a fun day where our partner agencies can get to know each other, these agencies know best the unique and local communities they serve, and they make decisions on what is best for their neighbors who experience food insecurity,” said Nick Osborne, President and CEO of Lowcountry Food Bank. Nick addressed the agency attendees as “the heart and soul of our collective work to serve our communities.”

Food Lion generously sponsored the 2024 Agency Conference hosted at NewSpring Church.

Conference resource booths provided valuable industry and community information covering topics of interest for partner agencies: a demonstration of LCFB’s GIS Mapping technology, which strategically pinpoints where food assistance is most needed; nutrition information and food sampling; LCFB’s sustainability efforts and efficiencies; opportunity for partners to provide feedback toward LCFB’s Equity, Diversity and Inclusion initiative; the opportunity to provide feedback on LCFB-administered feeding programs; a social determinants of health table, which outlined how the environments where people are live affect their health and quality-of-life, and an Advocacy table, where attendees can learn ways LCFB works to increase awareness about hunger issues and helps educate our community about social and policy issues that surround food insecurity.

Community partners WIC, United Way, and Second Chance Resource Center all had information tables at the event that presented valuable resources to attendees.

LCFB held drawings and awarded prizes to partner agencies, including food and merchandise gift cards for the neighbors they serve, a food freezer, shopping carts, and a computer.

90 LCFB partner agencies were present at the conference with a total of 200+ people in attendance. Many LCFB partner agencies volunteer their time to help provide equitable, dignified, and consistent access to food for neighbors who seed food assistance.

Click here to learn more about LCFB Agency Relations on the LCFB website:
https://lowcountryfoodbank.org/about-us/partner-agencies/
Organizations must meet specific eligibility criteria to quality as an LCFB Partner Agency and serve food to our neighbors who face hunger. Applications will be considered at the end of 2024.

 

About the Lowcountry Food Bank: Feed. Advocate. Empower.

The Lowcountry Food Bank serves the 10 coastal counties of South Carolina and distributed more than 42 million pounds of food in 2023. The Lowcountry Food Bank helps fight hunger by distributing food to more than 230 partner agencies including on-site meal programs, homeless shelters and emergency food pantries. The Lowcountry Food Bank advocates on behalf of those who experience hunger and helps empower people to make healthy and nutritious food choices. For more information, visit the Lowcountry Food Bank website.