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Since its inception in 2015, FoodShare, founded to help low income families gain access to fresh, affordable food, has distributed more than 27,000 fresh food boxes, accounting for more than 570,000 pounds of produce.

Organizations are coming together to offer a pop-up produce market next week following the closure of the Save-A-Lot grocery store on Harden Street, next to the former Allen Benedict Court Apartments.

FoodShare South Carolina, the city's Food Policy Council and others are partnering to offer $5 food boxes for sale at a pop-up market from 3-6 p.m. on Sept.4 at the former grocery store site. The boxes will feature fresh produce, dairy, eggs and grains for the first 300 customers to attend. Residents do not need to bring proof that they live in the affected nearby neighborhoods in order to buy a box, and EBT and SNAP will be accepted, according to Dee Miller of FoodShare SC.

The recent closure of Save-A-Lot has exacerbated the issue of food insecurity in the north and northwest sections of the city that have poor access to traditional grocery stores and fresh produce. 

As noted in a Feburary Free Times cover story, a dearth of nearby fresh grocery options has become a reality in the north and northwest sections of Columbia, particularly affecting the lower income black neighborhoods there. Aside from the 2016 closure of the West Beltline Boulevard Piggly Wiggly, 2018 saw the closure of the Harvey’s supermarket in the 3900 block of North Main, followed by the recent shutdown of the Save-A-Lot on Harden.

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