Get on the Facebook and vote

Somebody has finally come up with a good reason to get on the Facebook.

It could help Lowcountry food banks get a lot of money.

All you have to do is vote for Charleston-North Charleston-Summerville on Walmart's Facebook page. As part of its fighting hunger campaign, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is donating $1.5 million to communities with the highest hunger rates in the country. The top vote getter between now and New Year's Eve gets $1 million, and No. 2 through No. 6 on the list get $100,000 each.

That could make a huge difference for a lot of folks. Jermaine Husser, executive director of the Lowcountry Food Bank, told Glenn Smith in Tuesday's Post and Courier that every dollar the food bank gets allows them to feed 10 people.

Charleston was languishing mid-list until Mickey Bakst, general manager at Charleston Grill, lit a fire under the community. He got the word out enough to get us right on the cusp of the money list (we were at No. 8 Tuesday night). But it's going to take some work to climb higher on the list.

With a little effort, a lot of folks here could get some help. And really, there's no reason not to do this.

Unless you aren't on the Facebook.

A needed boost

On Tuesday, the campaign got a huge shot in the arm when state Rep. Wendell Gilliard and Sen. Robert Ford got involved. They spent the day hitting radio and TV stations, trying to get the word out.

This is right in their wheelhouse. Just last month, the two Charleston lawmakers fed 1,700 folks Thanksgiving dinner. They were able to accomplish that feat by raising money from a number of local businesses -- and a good number of local politicians (Glenn McConnell, Bobby Harrell and Larry Grooms among them).

Gilliard, who held a homeless summit last year and plans another for the spring, says getting businesses like Wal-Mart involved in the issue is key to solving it. After all, the state is broke and the General Assembly is liable to cut services and aid to lower-income and homeless folks this year. It's a sad political reality.

In the Charleston area, where the number of homeless people has risen dramatically as a result of the recession, $100,000 from Wal-Mart would give a much-needed boost to places such as the Lowcountry Food Bank.

As Ford said, "We can't afford to lose this."

A little competition

This is exactly the sort of public service that elected officials ought to perform. Sure, it's easier to just cut services and say that churches and nonprofits will pick up the slack. But the truth is churches and nonprofits are hurting just like everyone else. They are doing what they can.

This is what everyone else can do.

It doesn't take much time, it doesn't cost anything and it could make a great difference. Gilliard says people should want to help their fellow man.

"All of us are one step away from being homeless," Gilliard says.

Especially in this economy.

And hey, if doing good is not reason enough, consider this: Columbia is currently No. 3 on the list.

"We can't let those people in Richland County beat us," Ford said. "Our pride is at stake."

So go vote.