GEORGETOWN — Thanks to a statewide initiative with South Carolina's State Law Enforcement Division, Georgetown Police Department now has more than 800 boxes of nonperishable food to give to residents in need, Capt. Nelson Brown said.
The initiative called Greg's Groceries was started by Columbia-based Serve & Connect, a nonprofit that looks to improve challenged neighborhoods by building relationships with law enforcement. After a Forest Acres Officer Greg Alia was killed in the line of duty in 2015, Serve & Connect began the initiative to honor Alia and reach its most in-need residents.
"We believe this is a great initiative to help those in need," Serve & Connect said in a press release. "It will provide our officers the opportunity to positively engage the community that we serve and strengthen our relationship with our citizens."
In South Carolina, one in nine people face hunger, and in Georgetown County, more than 14 percent of residents experience food insecurity, according to FeedingAmerica.org. Brown said GPD joined the initiative because it's a win-win situation; hungry residents have access to immediate food and officers get a chance to engage with their communities.
"During the pandemic, you had a lot of people out of work and just a lot of people in need. And we have the homeless community as well," Brown said.
Not only can residents call the police department directly to get a box of food, but all officers on all shifts will each have five boxes in their cars, Brown said. So if an officer answers a call and sees a need, they can hand nonperishable food boxes out on the spot.
"It builds on a relationship that we already have, but it just makes it that much better," Brown said.