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INDEX JOURNAL - 02/13/2024
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Although only one contender could win this year’s Greenwood city-county food drive, the community as a whole was the real winner Monday morning.

City and county officials took shelter from the rain under the Greenwood County Farmers Market roof to weigh the donations they’d gathered as part of the food drive.

Launched Jan. 16, the annual food drive pits the city and county governments against each other in a friendly competition. The “coveted can of corn trophy,” as County Councilman Robbie Templeton called it, goes to the winner — bragging rights meant to inspire the staff of each government to rally more donations.

“We were a little concerned, because with inflation and the economy like it is, we were like, ‘Oooh, I don’t know what it’s going to look like,’” Templeton said.

But quickly into the weigh-in, those fears were dispelled. As the city weighed its donations of canned and dry goods along with food boxes provided through Food Lion Feeds program, they quickly surpassed last year’s winning amount.

While Corey Chapman carefully nudged the counterbalance on the scale to measure the weight of items, city police cracked jokes with county firefighters and administrative staff from both governments traded playful trash talk.

The city ended up bringing in 4,133 pounds of donated goods, while the county had 3,206. This year’s total of 7,339 pounds beat out last year’s 5,074.

“A little friendly competition can only support the goal of ending hunger in Greenwood,” said Mayor Brandon Smith.

According to figures from the national food organization network Feeding America, nearly 10% of people in Greenwood County experienced food insecurity at some point in 2021.

“I was so pleased to see the friendly competition within the competition,” Smith said. “Our police department shifts were competing against each other.”

Much of it was raised by community donors who dropped off items on behalf of the city or county. Countybank and Carolina Health Centers helped collect donations, and the county hosted a “Stuff the Ambulance” drive outside of Publix.

Bulk items, such as the seven-pound cans of green beans and sweet potatoes, will likely be sent to the Greenwood Soup Kitchen, while other items will be donated to the Food Bank of Greenwood County and Greater Greenwood United Ministry.

“Next year, bigger and better,” Templeton said.

“Let’s go shoot for 10,000 next year,” Smith replied.

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