The competition is heating up in the Greenwood city-county food drive as the police department is starting a new campaign to pick up donations at stores throughout the city.
Of course, the competition’s real winners are the hungry people of Greenwood County, as after the food drive runs through Jan. 25 before donating the proceeds to local charities addressing food insecurity. There’s a focus this year on canned vegetables and peanut butter and jelly since the Greenwood Soup Kitchen switched to providing bagged meals to avoid having a crowded dining room amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“There’s so many people out there that are unfortunately having issues,” said provisional Police Chief T.J. Chaudoin. “People are in hard times, and it’s part of our job at the police department. That’s the serving part of protect and serve.”
To that end, the police department will have officers at local grocery stores to pick up donations and ask shoppers to consider donating. The first will be from noon to 3 p.m. Sunday at the Food Lion at 2551 Highway 25 South.
“We will have police cars parked out there and at able set up, and people can stop by there and drop off their donations as they come out of the store or go in,” said police Public Information Officer Jonathan Link.
Next up will be from 9 a.m. to noon Tuesday at the Walmart at 300 Bypass 25 NE, then the third from 9 a.m. to noon at the Food Lion 1605 Bypass 72 E.
Chaudoin said this is another way for officers to meet people and interact with their community without someone having to dial 911. Officers have been spearheading organizing and setting up the food drive pushes, and he said he’s been proud of everyone involved for stepping up.
“I think the food drive this year has been more critical than in years past because of the last nine months,” Link said. “There’s a lot of different charities and a lot of different ways people can help, but this is something that feeds directly back into the Greenwood community.”
People can also donate at City Hall, 520 Monument St., during normal business hours. People may call 864-942-8422 to have someone meet them in the parking lot to accept donations rather than going inside.
And though the heart of the food drive is to provide for those in need, Chaudoin said it feels good to have staff dedicated to beating the county this year, given the city has lost the food drive in recent years.
“We’re going to bring the can of corn trophy home, there ain’t no doubt about that,” he said with a laugh.