COLUMBIA, S.C. – Today, Harvest Hope Food Bank announced a partnership with Google.org, Google’s philanthropic arm, and Feeding America® to immediately deliver meals to South Carolinians in need and build long-term technology solutions to scale their impact and provide their community with greater access to resources.
This announcement is part of a larger initiative from Google.org and Feeding America to help provide 50 million meals* to communities across the United States.
“Too many South Carolinians suffer from food insecurity,” said Congressman James E. Clyburn. “The James E. Clyburn Scholarship and Research Foundation has worked with Harvest Hope Food Bank for years to provide meals to rural communities, and I am thankful that this new partnership with Google will facilitate easier connections between Harvest Hope and families in need and help deliver more meals this holiday season to those who need the most.”
Today, 34 million Americans, including 9 million children, are facing food insecurity. Among Feeding America network food banks, 90% report an increased or sustained need over the last month. Food banks themselves face mounting headwinds as food donations decline and costs rise for freight, food purchase and every other aspect of operations. Harvest Hope Food Bank has seen this need first hand. In South Carolina, 9.6%, or over 489,500, of our neighbors struggle with putting food on the table. With rising costs of living, those individuals are forced to turn to their local food bank to help supplement their grocery needs.
“Integrating technology into the work that we do here at the food bank has been a long-term goal that we’re seeing come to fruition,” said Erinn Rowe, CEO of Harvest Hope. “Not only does it help our neighbors in need find food assistance quicker and easier, it also helps us to distribute food more efficiently to those that need it the most.”
Google has seen the need reflected in Google Search Trends on a national and local level in South Carolina. Nationally, Google sees a spike in searches for food support every November, but more than ever before, Americans are making searches around “food” and “prices” in 2022. They are also searching “how to give back” more than ever, with searches for “where to donate food near me” skyrocketing 850% over the past five years.
In South Carolina, Google searches for “donate food near me” increased by 630% over the past five years, and the top searched “how to apply” in 2022 was “how to apply for food stamps.” Additionally, searches for “emergency snap benefits sc” rose 200% in 2022, and searches for “free food near me” in South Carolina have climbed by 250% in the past five years.
“Addressing food insecurity requires a sustained and coordinated approach. We’re proud to partner with Feeding America to deliver over 50 million meals to people in need, and to work with them to strengthen their technology infrastructure,” said Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google and Alphabet. “We’re also making our products, like Search and Maps, more helpful to people searching for resources or ways to give back.”
Harvest Hope encourages community members who are looking to make a difference for those facing food insecurity to get involved by:
● Signing up to volunteer at one of Harvest Hope’s three branches.
● Donating financially to help purchase food and keep trucks on the road.
● Hosting a food drive or donating most needed items to help keep shelves stocked.
Harvest Hope will also receive donated Search Ads to connect people looking for help with resources, provide avenues for others to give back and drive food security awareness nationwide.
For more information about Harvest Hope, visit harvesthope.org. Media assets can also be found here.
*$1 helps provide at least 10 meals secured by Feeding America® on behalf of local member food banks.
About Harvest Hope Food Bank
Harvest Hope is building a hunger-free tomorrow in 20 counties across South Carolina. Rescuing food from stores that is at risk of being discarded, as well as sourcing food from the community and producers, they distribute it to local food pantries and through multiple feeding programs. These programs provide food for some of SC’s most vulnerable citizens – children, seniors, and rural residents who don’t have access to reliable transportation to grocery stores. Annually, Harvest Hope provides over 22 million meals to neighbors in need across their service area. Learn more at harvesthope.org.
About Feeding America
Feeding America® is the largest hunger-relief organization in the United States. Through a network of more than 200 food banks, 21 statewide food bank associations, and over 60,000 partner agencies, food pantries and meal programs, we helped provide 6.6 billion meals to tens of millions of people in need last year. Feeding America also supports programs that prevent food waste and improve food security among the people we serve; brings attention to the social and systemic barriers that contribute to food insecurity in our nation; and advocates for legislation that protects people from going hungry. Visit www.feedingamerica.org, find us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.
Google.org, Google’s philanthropy, brings the best of Google to help solve some of humanity’s
biggest challenges combining funding, product donations and technical expertise to support underserved communities and provide opportunity for everyone. We engage nonprofits and social enterprises who make a significant impact on the communities they represent, and whose work has the potential to produce meaningful change. We want a better world, faster — and we believe in leveraging technology and applying scalable data-driven innovation to move the needle.