Duke Energy and Mill Village Farms join volunteers in Greenville for ‘Yam Jam’ to bag sweet potatoes for Thanksgiving food boxes

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  • As part of monthlong campaign, the company will highlight over 40 feeding programs with more than $325,000 in financial support

  • Sweet potatoes will be distributed alongside other fresh foods to FoodShare South Carolina hubs in Greenville and Spartanburg 

GREENVILLE, S.C. – Duke Energy joined Mill Village Farms in downtown Greenville today for “Yam Jam,” bringing volunteers together to bag thousands of sweet potatoes as part of a monthlong campaign to support organizations in South Carolina that address food insecurities and inequities across the state.

The sweet potatoes will be distributed to FoodShare South Carolina hubs in Greenville and Spartanburg. FoodShare South Carolina is a statewide program that provides fresh fruits and vegetables to underserved communities at no or low cost through food hubs. Mill Village Farms provides these fresh food boxes in Greenville and Spartanburg, sourcing much of the produce from local sustainably managed farms that provide employment opportunities and fresh produce in food deserts.

In addition to purchasing the sweet potatoes that volunteers packed, today’s event also included a $75,000 grant from the Duke Energy Foundation to Mill Village Farms that will enable FoodShare South Carolina to distribute fresh food boxes to more than 6,000 families in 22 counties through November.

Each box comes with up to a dozen varieties of top-quality fruits and vegetables that are sourced as locally and seasonally as possible. Recipe cards (in English and Spanish) are included with each order to introduce simple and easy ways to use the produce in that box. The retail value of each box is between $30. The funding from the Duke Energy Foundation allows customers to purchase them at either $15 credit/debit or $5 Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

“FoodShare South Carolina organizations across the state are working to ensure that everyone has access to fresh fruits and vegetables regardless of where they live or how much they make,” said Dan Weidenbenner, executive director of Mill Village Farms. “Here in Greenville, we reached a major milestone in October, having delivered 1 million pounds of produce. We know the need is not diminishing, and we are grateful for Duke Energy's partnership as we press on to deliver our next million pounds for families facing hardship in Greenville and across the state.”

Duke Energy’s monthlong initiative will provide over $325,000 to more than 40 feeding programs leading up to the Thanksgiving holiday and culminating in final surprise grant announcements on Giving Tuesday.

“Every community in South Carolina is home to families who face hunger,” said Mike Callahan, Duke Energy South Carolina state president. “The statistics are startling – nearly 500,000 of our friends and neighbors lack consistent access to high-quality meals, and 1 in 7 of those are children.”

“As thoughts turn to the holidays and gatherings with families around dinner tables, it’s important to support the organizations who do the great work to fight hunger across our state,” Callahan said. “By shining a light on these efforts, we hope these organizations will continue to receive the support they need to help reduce and hopefully one day eliminate hunger in our communities.”

The monthlong campaign launched earlier in November with the “Pack the Pantry” event in Florence. That event brought together dozens of volunteers from the downtown Florence business community to help pack a thousand boxes of shelf-stable food for Harvest Hope Food Bank that will be distributed at food banks during the Thanksgiving holiday.

Throughout November, Duke Energy will highlight the critical community partners like Mill Village Farms and FoodShare South Carolina that do this incredible work, including Harvest Hope Food Bank, United Way Association of South Carolina and AIM, among many others. Duke Energy employees and retirees will be volunteering their time and efforts with these and other organizations throughout the month to assist in packing and distributing food boxes, as well as providing sweat equity to other feeding programs in their neighborhoods.

Duke Energy Foundation

The Duke Energy Foundation provides more than $30 million annually in philanthropic support to meet the needs of communities where Duke Energy customers live and work. The foundation is funded by Duke Energy shareholders.

Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK), a Fortune 150 company headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., is one of America’s largest energy holding companies. Its electric utilities serve 8.2 million customers in North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky, and collectively own 50,000 megawatts of energy capacity. Its natural gas unit serves 1.6 million customers in North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Ohio and Kentucky. The company employs 28,000 people.

Duke Energy is executing an aggressive clean energy transition to achieve its goals of net-zero methane emissions from its natural gas business by 2030 and net-zero carbon emissions from electricity generation by 2050. The company has interim carbon emission targets of at least 50% reduction from electric generation by 2030, 50% for Scope 2 and certain Scope 3 upstream and downstream emissions by 2035, and 80% from electric generation by 2040. In addition, the company is investing in major electric grid enhancements and energy storage, and exploring zero-emission power generation technologies such as hydrogen and advanced nuclear.

Duke Energy was named to Fortune’s 2022 “World’s Most Admired Companies” list and Forbes’ “World’s Best Employers” list. More information is available at duke-energy.com. The Duke Energy News Center contains news releases, fact sheets, photos and videos. Duke Energy’s illumination features stories about people, innovations, community topics and environmental issues. Follow Duke Energy on TwitterLinkedInInstagram and Facebook.

Contact: Ryan Mosier
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