A Mission that Feeds the Soul
With nearly 10% of locals facing food scarcity in coastal South Carolina, Nick Osborne felt compelled to unite the community in the fight against hunger. In 1983, the Lowcountry Food Bank opened as a response to the pressing issue of food insecurity in the greater Charleston area. After 40 years in operation, the nonprofit is a cornerstone of a broader community that’s adapted over the years to better serve its neighbors.
Leading the Fight Against HungerNick Osborne started volunteering for a non-profit at a young age; he’s never been a stranger to volunteerism. After a 30-year career developing leadership skills for international development and humanitarian operations, Osborne felt a desire to curate a deeper connection to those he served. “I wanted to take those 30 years of experience and adapt it to address some of the underlying issues and causes of food insecurity in South Carolina,” Osborne says.
What began as a small clearinghouse for donated food items has since evolved into a complex business that distributed nearly 40 million pounds of food in 2022. Today, over 230 dedicated partner agencies and food pantries collaborate with Lowcountry Food Bank to reach individuals facing food insecurity across the ten coastal counties of South Carolina.
In 2023, Lowcountry Food Bank is one of the most successful food banks in America, and they’re continuing to expand their footprint. They currently operate three regional food centers in Charleston, Myrtle Beach, and Yemassee; however, their vision goes further. They're in the process of building a new facility in Hampton County, a significant investment in the southernmost counties they serve.
This new food center isn't just about bricks and mortar; it's an example of their commitment to increasing consistent access to food, creating employment opportunities, and supporting local food producers. It's tangible evidence that the Lowcountry Food Bank is continually thinking about the future and how they can better serve their community.
The Power of PartnershipFor any organization, the secret to staying afloat and thriving for four decades is a combination of careful planning, dedication, adaptability, and forming the right partnerships. At Lowcountry Food Bank, they emphasize to their community they are not just a charity but a complex business, with strategic planning, systems, and procedures in place to ensure their continued success in providing equitable access to healthy food.
Lowcountry Food Bank leverages a diverse suite of products and services to help streamline their operations. Treasury Navigator, SouthState’s robust cash management platform, enables them to quickly oversee payment transactions and invest their resources on the initiatives that matter most. “Treasury Navigator has been a huge enhancement in terms of our business operations,” Osborne says. “This service allows us to pay our vendors and deposit funds quickly. Thanks to Treasury Navigator, we spend less time on administrative tasks and more time on strategic activities.”
In addition to Treasury Navigator, Lowcountry Food Bank also raves about the employer services they receive. “SouthState assists with our 401K platform administration for our employees,” says Osborne. “The support we receive extends beyond financial management; SouthState ensures our employees have access to the educational resources they need, and that our employees receive quick responses to their financial questions. It’s helped us foster a sense of well-being among our team.”
While Lowcountry Food Bank and SouthState share a mutually beneficial business relationship, the synergy of this partnership goes beyond cutting-edge technology and financial services. SouthState and Lowcountry Food Bank both embrace a shared commitment to giving back – that’s where the magic really happens. “SouthState has been a positive supporter of our work for a number of years, and we rely on them for fulfilling critical volunteer work that enables us to operate in the best interests of our community,” says Osborne. “SouthState understands our business and they adapt their services offerings to meet our needs.”
A Journey Worth CelebratingThe journey of the Lowcountry Food Bank is not just one of milestones; it's a story of hope, determination, and the power of compassion. It's a journey worth celebrating, not just for the remarkable achievements of the past 40 years but for the promise of an even brighter future.
As they look ahead to new horizons and new challenges, they do so with the knowledge that they have a community that cares, a dedicated team that believes, and a partner in SouthState Bank that understands their mission. They will continue to nourish the hearts and souls of those they serve, one meal at a time, just as they have since 1983.