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In the spring of 2013, several ladies in a women’s Bible Study class decided they wanted to do “something” to help young children. One of the ladies was familiar with a helping program at the beach, and after discussion and prayer, a trip was planned to Garden City to talk with the director of Help 4 Kids – Horry County Nonprofit for Children. It was during that trip that the idea for Help 4 Kids Florence was developed, and we thank our friends in Garden City for sharing their time and knowledge and for pointing us in the right direction to start our program.

We thank the law firm of Willcox Buyck & Williams for their pro bono work in filing the appropriate documentation for our designation as a 501(c)(3) non-profit, charitable organization. We thank Atlan Tec for providing a warehouse, at no cost to us, during our first year of operation. We thank CSP Insurance Services for allocating warehouse space to us and for administering our insurance needs. We thank Sonoco for donating all the “tote boxes” used in transporting the bags of food from the warehouse to the schools. We thank the Wal-Mart Supercenters on Beltline Drive and on S. Irby Street for conducting monthly food drives and for their cooperation and assistance with our food purchases. We thank Coca-Cola Bottling and Pepsi for transporting the food from Wal-Mart to our warehouse at no cost to us. We thank First Reliance Bank for their support and for administering our accounts. We thank S/W Printing for their generosity and assistance with our marketing materials. We thank Candesign for developing and maintaining our website. We thank the numerous churches and their congregations that are supporting us with time, talent and treasure. We especially thank Calvary BaptistCentral MethodistGrace BaptistSt. Luke Lutheran, St. John’s and one of our vendors for offsetting virtually all of our overhead expenses so that money received from donors can be applied directly to feeding hungry children.

We thank the Florence School District One staff for their approval, support and encouragement as this project began, and we especially thank the teachers and administrators of the schools in all five Florence County School Districts which are being supported by Help 4 Kids Florence for their diligence in accomplishing the most important tasks: identifying and delivering meals to students who are “food insecure.”

From September 2013 to spring 2017 the number of children receiving a weekly bag of food during the academic year increased from 193 students in six schools in Florence School District One to more than 1,900 students in 34 schools (including seven Head Start programs) in all five Florence County school districts (Florence, Pamplico, Lake City, Timmonsville and Johnsonville). Additionally, we continue to fight childhood hunger during the summer by supporting elementary students throughout all Florence County school districts who attend summer reading programs and other educational activities.  We offer our sincere thanks to the many individuals, businesses, churches, service clubs and foundations in Florence and beyond that have supported this rapid and necessary growth with food drives, volunteering and monetary donations. We are very grateful!