Food for the Soul recently received a donation of $35,000 from 1st Franklin Financial to help with the shelter’s operational costs. 1st Franklin Financial’s Kershaw County representative, John Rice, said the company became involved with Food for the Soul after being introduced to it by Shelter Manager Jimmy Farmer.
“He was telling me about the program and introduced it to our company. We’ve been donating the last three years, every Christmas time we donate food or toiletries,” Rice said. “I recently got them approved for our $35,000 grant. I wanted to work with Food for the Soul because of their involvement with the community and how they help the community.”
Food for the Soul serves free meals to those in need four times a week and functions as an emergency shelter on nights when the temperature drop to 36 degrees or below. The shelter also provides laundry service and showers for those in need.
Food for the Soul Director Darlene Thomas said the organization serves and average of 57 people daily.
“This past month we had several days when well over 70 people a day came just for lunch -- not counting breakfast.” Thomas said.
Food for the Soul also assists people with finding temporary shelter.
“We work with people who are becoming homeless because of an eviction, fire or flood,” Thomas said. “In those instances, we will probably provide them with a hotel voucher to help them and get them off of the street.”
She said Food for the Soul staff, which consists of herself, Farmer and Kitchen Manager Mable Brevard, is dedicated to helping the community.
“Between the three of us, we have a passion for helping the less privileged in our area. We obviously serve the homeless, but we also serve the elderly who do not get enough income to eat. We (also) help people with applying for federal assistance.”
Thomas talked about how the mission helped one Food for the Soul patron.
“We have one gentleman who gets $16 of food stamps each month. That’s the only money he has to eat with each month. He lives almost in Bishopville and comes here because there is nothing else is available,” Thomas said. “He is diabetic, so he has to eat and says since coming here, he has been able to maintain his sugar level from the nutritious meals. We are giving a lot of people in Kershaw County the opportunity to eat nutritionally.”