Farmers market leftovers help put an end to hunger

By Valencia WickerVWicker@abcnews4

GOOSE CREEK, S.C. (WCIV) - It isn't often Alice Hollie is given her pick of fresh vegetables. But thanks to Helping Hands of Goose Creek and a few giving farmers at the Mount Pleasant Farmers Market, Hollie can eat healthy.

"I don't know where it all comes from but somebody has to give it, and I thank you for it," said Hollie.

Hollie is one of thousands of people who receive free food from Helping Hands, a faith-based food pantry for low-income families.

"I get 16, 16 dollars a month food stamps on top of my social security. And, that buys milk and bread or milk and eggs but, it doesn't get anything else," said Hollie. {}

Hollie is in need of all the help she can get and fresh vegetables to help make her strong.

"I was on my way home and a drunk crossed over the median and hit me head on," said Hollie.

Since then, it's been hard for Hollie to get around. Money problems haven't helped either. Hollie can barely afford the necessities.

"The folks that come to us are in crisis anyway. And we provide 10 to 12 days worth of food to feed their family. But what we're able to do with the fresh produce is accentuate that with very nutritious vegetables that are very expensive in the stores," said Michelle Arredondo, executive director of Helping Hands of Goose Creek.

Free fresh produce wouldn't be possible without the donations of Lowcountry farmers at the Mount Pleasant Farmers Market.

"Every Tuesday night when the farmers market is in season, we go over there and at the end of the day when they ring that bell, everybody else is packing up, but we are loading up," said Arredondo.

Hollie says without the farmers market she would not be able to afford healthy food.

"It doesn't go to waste, I guarantee it."

Last year, Helping Hands fed 10 people.

The organization only has three part-time employees. The rest of the work is done by volunteers.

If you are interested in becoming a volunteer or making a donation to Helping Hands, call 843-553-7198.