COVID-19 began to tighten its grip on the area around March of 2020. As the months go on, some watching it all playout are now growing tired from virus-fatigue, as the news cycle pumps out information and infection rates at a dizzying pace. But the virus is still here, along with its effect on the economy.
The unemployed and under-employed continue to struggle. The food lines, from those first, dark days of spring, have not gone away either. The lines are only getting longer.
On a Monday, eight months ago, with help from the Summerville YMCA, the Community Resource Center in Summerville offered its first food pick-up line at the YMCA on West Doty Avenue. Almost every Monday since, volunteers have continued to drop a box of food into every open door, trunk or truck bed of those who pull up.
“The first one we did we thought we had a nice crowd and we were very pleased with what happened, but this has expanded. We have a lot of hurting people in our community,” said Louis Smith, director of the Community Resource Center. “We started in March and my thing was, March, April, May, we may be done and going back to normal. It didn’t happen.”
The line of idling vehicles stretching down West Doty Avenue is now, as long as ever. Most weeks there are a few hundred vehicles pulling up, the previous high was more than 400. On Nov. 16, Smith said they will probably see more than 600 cars.
“There’s no abatement, it’s getting worse,” Smith said. “We’re getting into the Thanksgiving season and the Christmas season and the lines are long.”
The Community Resource Center is able to provide the items because of food drive donations along with a lot of help from the Lowcountry Food Bank. The pick-ups usually begin at 2 p.m. every Monday and lately there are a lot of early arrivals.
“By 10 o’clock [a.m.] we have a line of about 50 cars already,” Smith said. “Bottom line is the lines are still getting longer. We’re Summerville a nice small town, who would ever expect that to be in Summerville?”