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Charleston, S.C. (March 30, 2016): East Cooper Community Outreach (ECCO) announces a new initiative that will bring healthier food options to low-income households in East Cooper as part of the organization’s greater efforts of improving health outcomes. The Farmers Market will allow ECCO clients to choose from seasonal fresh produce on a regular basis.
This initiative was created in response to data from the 2014 Hunger Study conducted each year to assess the overall status of hunger in America. According to the study, more than 631,000 people are served by food banks in South Carolina each year. The study surveyed over 192,000 local residents receiving provisions in the Lowcountry, this consists of Beaufort, Berkeley, Charleston, Colleton, Dorchester, Georgetown, Hampton, Horry, Jasper and Williamsburg Counties, and found that 57% desired additional fresh produce. In response to this request, Rachel Vane, ECCO’s Director of Volunteer Engagement, implemented the new Farmers Market concept. “People experiencing food insecurity have to make difficult choices. We know having access to produce can improve a variety of health issues such as diabetes, high blood pressure, dental wellness, and overall nutrition. I see this Farmers Market as part of ECCO's holistic service approach. Our clients face tough choices, this is another way we can offer them nutritious food options,” said Vane. The overarching goal of the Farmers Market is to provide an additional healthy outlet for ECCO’s low-income clients.
The first ECCO Client Choice Farmers Market will take place on Thursday, March 31 from 10am to 3pm (or until food runs out), located in the Old Laing Middle School parking lot. In collaboration with the Lowcountry Food Bank, ECCO plans to host the market every other month. For additional information about ECCO please visit www.ECCOcharleston.org.
East Cooper Community OutreachThe mission of East Cooper Community Outreach (ECCO) is to provide safety net services to our low-income neighbors, while empowering them to create better lives for themselves, their families and their communities. Founded in 1989 as an emergency relief effort after the devastation from Hurricane Hugo, ECCO strives to eliminate poverty in the East Cooper region, and focuses on three main program areas: Basic Needs, Health Services and Empowerment. More than 4,500 families a year receive emergency assistance for food, clothing, household furnishings and financial aid, and have access to dental and medical care, counseling, prescription assistance, health education, financial literacy classes, job readiness classes, and employment services.