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CCPL’s Free and Fresh Program Expands Access to Fresh Ingredients

Holy City Sinner

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Charleston County Public Library (CCPL) is launching “Free and Fresh,” a new initiative that provides produce to members of the community at no cost to them. Beginning Monday, March 22nd, a new refrigerator that was installed inside the St. Paul’s Hollywood Library, located at 5130 Hwy 165, will be stocked with fresh fruits and vegetables and accessible to the public during library operating hours. No registration or sign up is required.

This initiative is made possible thanks to a grant from Roper St. Francis Healthcare, which allowed the library to purchase the refrigerator along with funds from the Charleston Friends of the Library. The produce is being provided by the Lowcountry Food Bank.

“Our Free and Fresh fridge is an effort to combat food insecurity in Charleston County,” said CCPL Outreach Manager Kathleen Montgomery. “We know that many areas around the county are food deserts, including the Hollywood area, and we hope this fridge is a way to connect our patrons with ingredients that are free and easily accessible.”

Along with the free produce, easy recipes and nutrition information will be available to patrons who are interested in learning more about using the fresh ingredients. CCPL hopes to expand the Free and Fresh program to more library branches in the future.

This initiative further expands CCPL’s efforts to promote food literacy across Charleston County. In partnership with the Lowcountry Food Bank, CCPL has been providing free after school snacks for children at several library branches through the Kids Café program, Charlie Cart cooking programs, and summer snacks and meals, which is also in conjunction with a partnership with the Charleston County School District. The Library also recently partnered with the Lowcountry Food Bank to distribute produce at three library locations through pop-up drive-thru events.

“Our libraries are embedded and trusted institutions and so it’s been a natural fit for us to partner with organizations that meet the growing needs of our communities,” said CCPL Deputy Director Natalie Hauff. “The pandemic has heightened food insecurities and we are committed to helping our partners fill those gaps. We hope those living around the St. Paul’s Hollywood Library take this opportunity to pick up some produce and check out the other resources available to them in their public library.”

For more information about this and other services and programs, visit ccpl.org, contact your local library branch, or connect with the library on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

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