SC high in food scarcity nationwide; Myrtle Beach food banks feeling strain

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MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – A new study released this week ranks all 50 states in order of food scarcity — how families struggle to put food on their tables.

South Carolina ranks seventh on that list, with 18.3 percent of households saying they had trouble feeding themselves over the past year.

Deacon Peter M. Casamento, director of the Community Kitchen of Myrtle Beach, said the tourist nature of the Grand Strand community has impacted their needs.

“A lot of the jobs in Myrtle Beach are in the tourist industry,” Casamento says. “But around mid-August you start to see our general population increase, meaning their hours have been cut.”

Casamento said only 15 percent of the population that their kitchen serves is homeless, with a majority of their needs coming from the working poor.

Churches Assisting People (CAP) is a food pantry based in Conway that has seen their population expand in recent years.

“Lately we’ve been seeing a lot of people from Marion or Mullins, some of those outer cities that don’t have any kind of resources,” said Donna Bodie, director of Churches Assisting People.

Bodie said the increased need has put a strain on their resources but donations have kept them afloat.

“We try not to let anyone leave here without some kind of help,” Bodie said. “I hate having to tell someone, ‘No.’”

The study was released by the Food Resource and Action Center, a group that conducts research in order to document the extent of hunger, its impact and effective solutions. For the full 37-page report click here.

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