Connecting state and local government leaders
An interactive food resource map covers all 46 counties in South Carolina and features profiles for more than 900 food pantries and resources.
To more efficiently address food insecurity, South Carolina’s social services agencies, community organizations and residents now have access to an online interactive map of resources.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 13.5 million households were food insecure at some point in 2021, and data from 2019 to 2021 identified South Carolina as one of nine states with above average food insecurity.
The state’s Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) worked with Clemson University’s College of Behavioral, Social and Health Sciences to create the map. It covers all 46 counties in South Carolina and profiles more than 900 food pantries and resources, officials said in a statement. The current map is an expansion of one developed as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which only included upstate South Carolina, according to CBSHS Dean Leslie Hossfeld.
Profiles include details on food access locations, contact information and hours of operation. They also highlight services an organization may offer such as delivery, to-go meals or grocery shopping assistance. Users can filter map results by requirements as some food sites may have income restrictions, require photo ID or conduct interviews before providing services to individuals. Users can search for sites or get directions from the map as well.
The food pantry data was provided by a number of organizations and individuals as well by the United Way charity, which used information from the 211 database of social services, Hossfeld said. The map, which is housed on the CBSHS website, also includes DHEC locations and South Carolina Department of Social Services offices.
Through phone interviews and electronic surveys, students verified food pantry data, and they originally recorded the information in a spreadsheet, which was then then transferred to an ArcGIS map. As entries were individually added to the map using the editing application, the public-facing map automatically reflected those changes, Hossfeld said.
The food map will be updated weekly to ensure accurate information, Hossfeld said. Some organizations have already reached out to the university to provide additional information, she said.
“The map is being used by community organizations, individual families, non-profits, churches, and state and local agencies to provide up-to-date [resources] for food insecure families and community partners and service providers,” Hossfeld said. “It is well-received as a vital resource for the state and fills a gap by creating a central repository for this information to help families, individuals and communities in need.”