Olar, located in western Bamberg County and just 10 miles south of Denmark, boasts a whopping 257 residents, according to the most recent census. Among its residents is Bamberg County School Board Trustee Beverly Bonaparte.
Known by many for her devotion to public education, as she’s served her local board since 2016, Bonaparte is becoming increasingly identified with the food pantry sponsored by her church, Amazing Grace Ministries, Golden Harvest Food Bank and FoodShare Bamberg, which opened a few years ago to service the residents of Bamberg County, S.C. Recently appointed its director, Bonaparte volunteers her time during the week organizing food pickups in preparation for the Saturday morning distribution from noon until 2 p.m.
“We pick up breads, vegetables, fruit, meats – everything that you can put in a box for a family to have a complete meal,” said Bonaparte. “We service anywhere from 147, 150, sometimes up to 200 people.”
At the onset, the pantry only accommodated the residents of Bamberg County. The outpour of support has been so overwhelming, residents of neighboring counties have been invited to take part.
“To me it’s a blessing because working in the food pantry – to see how the people are so receptive and faithful,” Bonaparte said. “We are the first people (they) see. (For) some of them, our boxes are the only boxes they are going to get for that week and there is such a need for the food.”
The trips to retail stores and other distributors as far away as Aiken, S.C. are all worth it to Bonaparte, who considers herself fortunate to have been afforded the opportunity to serve in this capacity.
“I wouldn’t trade it for the world,” said Bonaparte.
She’s especially grateful for volunteer staff members who carry out their duties with excellence and in the words of one of the staff members, “(There is) a box made especially for you.”
Food distribution takes place at 202 Beech Avenue in Denmark, S.C. and all are invited to partake and participate.