Nine months into the COVID-19 pandemic, Harvest Hope Food Bank is hoping a new partnership with Famously Hot New Year will help the Columbia-headquartered nonprofit meet heavy holiday demand and keep the food pantry stocked into 2021.
The annual New Year’s Eve celebration, the largest in South Carolina, is going virtual for its 10th anniversary. The party will be streamlined online and on WLTX-TV from 10:30 p.m. until 12:15 a.m. on New Year’s Eve, with a headlining artist to be announced next week. Past headliners have included Salt-N-Pepa, En Vogue, Elle King and Trombone Shorty.
This year, the event is encouraging donations to Harvest Hope, which also has branches in Florence and Greenville. Donations may be made online or by texting FHNY to 44-321.
“We’re excited to see what will come of it,” Taylor Davids, Harvest Hope development and communications specialist, said. “I think it will be great. … November and December are always our busiest time and they’re also our biggest giving season. (Holiday giving) helps propel us into the new year.”
Davids said Harvest Hope is still hopping after a Thanksgiving rush, and effects of the pandemic remain evident.
“Obviously COVID has wrecked a lot of people’s lives, but we’re still seeing new people come to the food bank,” Davids said. “There were a lot of first-timers around Thanksgiving, a lot of people who had lost their jobs.”
Volunteers remain needed and welcome, Davids said, with mask and social distancing guidelines enforced. And while donations of canned goods are always valuable, she said Harvest Hope can stretch monetary donations farther than the average grocery shopper.
“If they can give a monetary donation, that’s usually the best,” she said. “What you’re able to buy at the store or Costco is going to be a lot less than we can buy in bulk.”
Famously Hot party packs, which include a reusable tote bag, neck gaiter, koozie, two party horns, two champagne poppers and two temporary tattoos, are available at locations across Columbia. Printable party favors and special offers from Richland County businesses are available online, along with a list of drop-off locations for Harvest Hope holiday donations.
“The community never fails us or let us down when we have a crisis,” Davids said. “This year has been no different.”