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Letter from the Rev. Kara Stewart: Update From Tricounty

News--Kara Stewart Tricounty

Hello, Tricounty Family Ministries family.

This week we came close to breaking our record for number of families served during the pandemic. We stayed open longer than usual to accommodate the crowds––204 families came to us for help. Thanks to your generosity, we were able to share canned goods, fresh produce, frozen meat, breads, milk, and cooked meals. We also were able to share bagged lunches made by our partners at Westminster Presbyterian Church. All in all, we supported 700 members of their families.

To put this in perspective, before the pandemic, open four days a week, we shared groceries with 60-70 people each day. Now, operating outdoors for safety, we serve 180-200 people in two hours.

The work is hard. The weather makes it even more challenging. But we persist in serving our neighbors because there is such need. Over the last few weeks, we have seen a decline in the number of first-time visitors, which is a good sign. But we are also seeing an increase in the number of people seeking assistance with their rent and utility bills. Many have been out of work after contracting the coronavirus, while others are struggling because of the recent reduction in unemployment benefits. Because of our relationship with Trident United Way, we have received additional funds to help those affected by the virus. We’re grateful to be the stewards of these funds.
School Supplies Collection: due Tuesday, September 15
We will be distributing school supplies in our usual safe drive-through and walk-up lines on Wednesday, September 16, starting at 10:00. You can sign up to volunteer on that day using our regular Wednesday Food Distribution signup link:

Wednesday sign-up
We would love to have your help in collecting school supplies. Here is what we would like to distribute:

Elementary supplies:
Loose-leaf wide-ruled paper
Pocket folders
Glue sticks
Scissors for small hands
Small backpacks
Middle- and High-School supplies:
Loose-leaf paper
3-ring binders
Composition books
Standard size backpacks
The deadline for donating school supplies is Tuesday, September 15th 2:00pm.
We will be packing the supplies in the backpacks on Tuesday, September 15th, 2:00 – 5:00pm. If you’d like to help with this project, you can sign up using our Tuesday Grocery Bagging link:

Tuesday Sign-Up 
Volunteer needs: Tuesdays & Wednesdays
We continue to need volunteers on Tuesdays to pack produce and bag groceries. The work is done with volunteers staying six feet apart, passing bags along the tables in an assembly line.

We especially need help on Wednesdays. Our current volunteers who are teenagers or work in the schools will be unavailable very soon. We need 14 people each time we open for food distribution in order to operate safely and efficiently. We’ve shifted our food distribution to 10:00 a.m. so that we avoid the worst of the heat. We need people who can work outside, depositing groceries into people’s trunks. We also need people who will work inside, transferring the bags of groceries inside on shelves to the table just outside the door. Please visit the SignUp Genius page and check out the list of jobs.

Our volunteer criteria are listed below.
Volunteers are prohibited if they:

  1. Have health or age factors that put them at higher risk for complications from the virus
  2. Have recently experienced a cough, shortness of breath, fever, extreme fatigue, or sudden loss of smell and/or taste
  3. Have been in contact with someone with Covid-19 in the last 14 days
  4. Have been to an airport in the last 14 days
  5. Have been to an event with more than 20 people in the last 14 days

Volunteers agree to:

  1. Wear a mask that covers nose and mouth completely
  2. Wash hands before, during, and after volunteering
  3. Maintain a social distance of six feet from other volunteers and our guests

Sign up here:
Tuesday Grocery Bagging 10:00 – 11:30 and 12:00 – 2:00
Wednesday Food Distribution 9:15 – 12:30

Food pantry needs this week: monetary donations
We have good news on the food pantry front: the Lowcountry Food Bank is increasing their available stock, and we are able to purchase more food for the first time during the pandemic. To help us take advantage of the groceries that are available, we are depending on your monetary donations. Please do what you can to support our food ministry––you can give online or send us a check in the mail. With each $10 donation from you, we can buy $80 of food at the Food Bank.

CLick here to donate

Sign up to sponsor a Food Drive
Help coordinate a Food Drive for Tricounty at your church, neighborhood association, scout troop, or other organization! Pick a date and use our template to design a flyer to advertise your effort. Sign up at our SignUp Genius site to reserve your date to deliver your food and toiletry items.

Sponsor a food drive

We still need diapers
The Charleston area Diaper Bank has been closed due to the pandemic, and we have slowly been depleting our store of diapers. We are most in need of larger sizes: 3 and up, including pull-ups. Families receive assistance from WIC that helps them with diapers in the small sizes. When that support ends, they come to us to help provide this essential product for their kiddos. Holding a Diaper Drive is a great way for churches or other organizations to support our ministry!
This week’s needs in the clothes closet: men’s size 34 & 36 pants
We still cannot accept general clothing donations. We simply do not have the number of volunteers needed to make that work.
We are, however, in need of men’s clothing, especially men’s pants, size 34 and 36 waist and men’s short sleeved shirts, size large and up.
We can receive your donations of food, toiletries, or men’s clothing on Tuesdays or Thursdays, 12:00 – 2:00.
Our weekly schedule:
Tuesdays and Thursdays 12-2: donations accepted
Wednesdays 10-12: Food Distribution (every other week through September)
Mondays and Fridays: office closed

Thank you so much for all that you are doing to help our ministry continue to serve our neighbors in need!

The Rev. Kara Joy Stewart
Executive Director
Tricounty Family Ministries
2105 Cosgrove Ave.
North Charleston, SC 29405
work – 843.747.1788