GREG’S GROCERIES: SLED partners with other agencies to help people facing food insecurity
COLUMBIA, SC (WOLO) — Food insecurity is widespread in South Carolina.
Almost half a million people in the Palmetto State are facing hunger according to Feeding America.
“Kassy, I want to thank you and the Serve and Connect team for the important work you do in our communities around the state,” said Chief Mark Keel of South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) to Kassy Alia, who has worked to help address food storage in the state.
Alia started Serve and Connect after her husband Greg, a Forest Acres police officer, was shot and killed on duty in 2015.
“When Greg died, I knew nothing would bring him back but I felt very deeply called to be a part of bringing healing and change when it comes to police and community relationships,” Alia said. “It’s amazing to see how we’ve grown and it’s because of our amazing partners.”
Serve and Connect has partnered with SLED for the Greg’s Groceries initiative. It helps provide people experiencing food insecurity with a box of non-perishable grocery items.
“When we think about critical needs and people in crisis, so often it is also related to a hunger need as well,” Alia said. “The box of food is an immediate tool that can impact someone in need, but also open the door for a relationship to grow.”
“Relationships are not built overnight. When something tragic happens, you cannot build that relationship in an instant,” Keel said. “Those relationships are built on understanding, empathy and compassion.”
Volunteers with SLED and other law enforcement agencies as well as Walmart and AT&T helped pack grocery boxes Thursday morning.
A pastor who partners with SLED remembers providing a woman in need with a box of Greg’s Groceries when she came up to him to ask for money.
“I said to Eric, ‘Do you have a box of Greg’s Groceries in your truck?’ We pulled it out and this lady began to cry. She said, ‘I have food for my children to eat.’ She didn’t want money anymore because we met her needs,” said Pastor T.A. Belton of Zion Pilgrim Baptist Church. “That’s what Serve and Connect and SLED is all about. I thank God today that we’re able to do great work in our community.”