Feeding Programs

Has your stomach ever growled because you haven’t eaten for three days? Did your parents make you take turns at meals because there wasn’t enough food for everyone? Did you ever worry about your children not having enough to eat? Did you worry about your elderly parents making soup from ketchup packets for their one daily meal? You might be surprised at the number of people in the Lowcountry who are desperately hungry.

Since we opened our soup kitchen operation in 1983, Tricounty Family Ministries has provided over 5 million meals in hot lunches served three days a week at our Center, meals delivered to the home-bound, and emergency groceries given to families from our food pantry.

Much of the food used in our kitchen is donated from local retail stores. Our volunteer food gatherers continually search the tricounty area in a dilapidated blue van to find stale breads and desserts, meats and produce. These and other items are then lovingly recycled into nutritious meals by our dedicated volunteer cooks.

Canned goods and other non-perishable foods are also collected during frequent food drives at area churches, businesses, and civic organizations, as well as from retail stores and the local food bank.

Although the bulk of our resources and efforts are devoted to feeding the hungry, we have learned that food is often just the first step in ministering to people in need.

A personal story

Penny, Tammy and Todd* noticed the Tricounty Family Ministries lunch line and got their father to stop in for a hot meal. While the family waited in line, a volunteer learned Lester’s* story: His wife had died of ovarian cancer two weeks earlier; he had lost his job because of taking care of her and the children; and the family had been living in an abandoned building for the past week. He started to cry, while the children just hung their heads.

Other volunteers and staff pulled the family out of the line and took them into a private office. A counselor talked with the father while he ate his lunch, and the children’s attention focused on the heaping plates of stewed chicken and vegetables over rice. After each wolfed down two plates full, they were gently stopped to keep them from getting sick.

Clothes, toys, rental assistance, and contact with social services then provided other needed help. Lester soon found a job as manager of an RV travel service. The children returned to school, and a grateful family found itself on the road to recovery.

* Names have been changed.