August 29, 2014
Charleston Jewish Pantry 500px
Charleston, S.C. Jewish Federation Administrative Assistant Joan Herrman, left, and BI-LO Service Area Manager Linda Green with a BI-LO donation to the center’s Kosher Food Pantry. ​

The Charleston, South Carolina Jewish Community Center found itself in a difficult position in June: its Kosher Food Pantry had run so low on food it considered turning individuals away for the first time.

The food pantry serves all individuals who qualify and is the only one in the West Ashley community of Charleston. The food that the pantry purchased and received in donations wasn’t enough food to meet the needs of an average people that had grown to 35 —the majority of whom are senior citizens—who rely on the pantry’s services each week. Sara Sharnoff, director of Charleston Jewish Family Services, said that average is now about 40 people per week.

Sharnoff said she was faced with the difficult task of finding a community partner that would be able to help allievitate the lack of food in the pantry. She contacted her local BI-LO team to request any immediate help BI-LO could give.

“We were in desperate need of a miracle donation,” she said. “Our weekly average had doubled and I wasn’t sure what other options we had.”

The BI-LO Charleston regional team decided that the community’s needs were so great that immediate help was needed. They donated $5,000 in BI-LO gift cards to the food pantry and organized the pantry to work with BI-LO store No. 5409 to provide food that included needed kosher items.

“To be able to help a great organization like this immediately when they need assistance is very rewarding,” Charleston District Director Henry Bash said. “Our stores were able to make a difference in the lives of Charleston residents who needed our help the most by partnering with this organization, and that is what at the end of the day truly makes a difference.”

The food pantry was able to keep servicing the community with the help of the donation and continues to work with the local BI-LO store each week to order food to keep the pantry stocked.

“When I received the phone call about the donation, it brought me to tears,” said Sharnoff. “Never in my dreams did I expect to receive $5,000 within a week of reaching out to BI-LO!”

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