Donnella Hardee, assistant vice president in retail mortgage, began feeding the needy in the area from day one of working at CresCom Bank.
“I helped my late husband Rodney get our food distribution program off the ground four years ago,” she says, “and my first day on the job here was actually the first day we received a truckload of groceries and my boss let me leave early to go help!”
Hardee, who lives in the northeastern part of Horry County, had noticed a growing need for food for unemployed families and those on fixed incomes. With the help of her church and a local food program, she began (and continues to) coordinating a truck to arrive at their church fellowship hall with a load of groceries the fourth Thursday every month. Thanks to donations and support, the program pays about $650 for the groceries valued up to $12,000.
“And up until January of this year, the truck had to drive all the way from Charleston with our food,” says Hardee, “but thanks to Wal-Mart and much community support, we now receive our groceries from the Low Country Food Bank in Myrtle Beach.”
Hardee also reports that today, this small program serves approximately 200 families and as many as 550 people per month – and it’s all made possible with a group of fellow CresCom Bank employee volunteers. Norma Cook and Caitlin Tuil, who help by saving their grocery bags to bag the food items. Tammy Martel often donates clothing, and Kimberly Bennett, who also raised $500 to purchase chicken for Thanksgiving dinner. Diane Platt, who used one of her vacation days in December to help the program give out 250 Christmas gifts and nice coats, clothing and shoes to more than 200 people; and folks in the mortgage department in Myrtle Beach, and Dana Maynard, who collected all the items for December’s event and even set up a fund to help purchase Christmas gifts this year.
“For each day we work, it takes a minimum of 12 volunteers,” says Hardee. “I know you see programs everywhere, but the area we serve has no other source to receive assistance. It only takes volunteering one day a month to have a different attitude to life.”