Holidays act as a period of remembrance, appreciation and, of course, feasting.
However, the coronavirus pandemic is still constricting many Aiken County families’ wallets to the point where it may not be plausible to put together a holiday food budget.
In particular, obtaining fresh, nutritious food is a challenge, as these items can be more expensive than pre-made items. People who experience food insecurity face an increased risk of health problems related to a lack of nutrition.
According to Ann Snyder, director of marketing at Golden Harvest Food Bank, there has been an increase in “food insecurity,” or a lack of access to nutritious but affordable food, in Aiken County and other surrounding areas.
The reason for this, Synder notes, is simply due to families still being out of work or working reduced hours, or are staying home more, causing their savings to be exhausted to meet certain needs.
“[Families] are living more on the edge and are struggling to make ends meet,” Snyder said. “It’s important to us that people receive the food they need to not only to survive but the nutrition they need to thrive, as well,” Synder said.
The CSRA branch of Golden Harvest Food Bank extends its services to 25 counties in Georgia and South Carolina, and has physical locations in Aiken and Augusta.
In October 2020, the Golden Harvest Food Bank in Aiken County recorded a total number of 22,700 people, or 13.6% of the county’s population, dealing with food insecurity, Snyder said.
This number has increased since 2018, when 17,640 people, or 10.6% of Aiken County’s population were dealing, with food insecurity.
To combat food insecurity, Golden Harvest works with several agencies throughout Aiken County to help these families, including ever-present food banks and blessing boxes.
Food banks in Aiken County
- The Salvation Army Aiken, 322 Gayle St., Aiken, SC 29801; 803-648-0461.
- Aiken Seventh-Day Adventist Church, 1714 Columbia Hwy N., Aiken, SC 29801; 803-649-1991.
- New Life Seventh-Day Adventist Church, 804 Collins Ave., Aiken, SC 29801; 803-641-4252
- Christ Central Ministries Aiken, 3605 Richland Avenue W., Aiken, SC 29801; 803-644-0705
- St. Mary’s / St Vincent DePaul Society of Aiken, 138 Fairfield St. S.E., Aiken,SC 29801; 803-642-3211
- ACTS, 340 Park Avenue, S.W., Aiken, SC 29801; 803-642-5919
- Aiken County Board of Disabilities, 1016 Vacluse Road, Aiken, SC 29802; 803-642-8800
- Aiken Unitarian Universalist Church, 115 Gregg Ave., Aiken, SC 29802; 803-502-0404
- Central Baptist Church Pass the Salt,1652 Wire Road, Aiken, SC 29805; 803-642-6335
- Christian Heritage Church, 285 Ascauga Lake Road, Graniteville, SC 29829; 803-663-7504
- Second Baptist Aiken, 425 Hampton Ave N.W, Aiken, SC 29801; 803-644-3994
- St. Noah Church of God In Christian, 261 Charleston St. S.E., Aiken, SC 29801; 803-960-6977
- St. John Baptist Church, 286 Huber Clay Road, Aiken, SC 29834; 803-593-4186
- Sweetwater Baptist, 198 Sweetwater Road, North Augusta, SC 29860; 803-279-2821
- All Saints Episcopal Church, 305 Williston Road, Beech Island, SC 29842; 803-302-9900
- Mt. Zion Baptist Church, 17519 Atomic Road, Aiken, SC 29803; 803-827-0300
- Riverfront Christian Church, 1766 Knox Ave., North Augusta, SC 29841; 803-634-1801
Blessing Boxes in Aiken County
Aiken has several blessing boxes scattered throughout the county. The blessing boxes are usually filled with food and essential items, including diapers and toilet paper.
- Crosland Park, 1248 Crosland Drive N.E., Aiken.
- Osbon Park, Columbia Ave. N.W., Aiken
- Aiken Perry Memorial Park, 720 Abbeville Ave. N.E., Aiken
- Aiken County Library 314 Chesterfield St. S., Aiken
- Clyburn Center, 1000 Clyburn Pl. Aiken
- Aiken First Presbyterian Church, 224 Barnwell Ave N.W. Aiken
- Aiken Unitarian Universalist Church, 115 Gregg Ave., Aiken
- Aiken Habitat For Humanity ReStore, 1026 Park Ave S.E., Aiken
- Aiken Solid Rock Baptist Church, 3079 Old Powderhouse Road, Aiken
- New Ellenton Main St. Blessing Box, 212 Main St. N., New Ellenton
- Aiken Kennedy Middle School, 274 E Pine Log Rd., Beech Island
- Aiken Habitat for Humanity, 1026 Park Ave. S.E., Aiken
- Aiken Regional Medical Centers, Aiken, SC, 302 University Parkway