Columbia, SC – During its 37th annual gala Friday night, Harvest Hope Food Bank raised $147,000 to continue the fight against food insecurity across South Carolina. The event, A Grand Affair, presented by SCE&G, brought together business leaders, donors and community supporters for a 1920’s-style celebration with performances by Grammy-nominated artist Jamie O’Neal.
A highlight of the evening was the presentation of the 2018 Michael J. Mungo Humanitarian Award to Gery Ballou, who helped start Harvest Hope Food Bank more than three decades ago. Ballou and her late-husband Bill were co-founders and together, with the help of their nine sons and the community, they served those most in need. Ballou, now 90 years old, was an active volunteer with the food bank until the age of 86. Many who know Gery Ballou say she has a servant’s heart and helping others is a trait that comes naturally.
“Her call to service is really informed by her faith,” said her son Dan Ballou. “She feels that serving others, especially those who are in need is really an important reflection of her faith and her belief in God and what God expects of all of us. My mother shies away from the spotlight so it is nice for us – her children, her family – to see her recognized for the work she has done all these years in the community.”
WIS-TV news anchor Dawndy Mercer Plank served as emcee while guests enjoyed food, music and a silent auction with dozens of specialty items including vacation travel packages, signed sports memorabilia and more.
“We are so grateful for the support we receive year after year. Without it, we would not be able to help our neighbors most critically in need,” said Harvest Hope Food Bank Chief Executive Officer Denise Holland. “Tonight was an evening of celebration but we were also reminded through our honoree Gery Ballou that service to others is paramount. Thanks to our donors and community support we will continue to answer that call.”
About Harvest Hope
Harvest Hope Food Bank serves 20 counties across South Carolina with a mission of providing hunger relief with dignity, compassion and education to people in need. Harvest Hope is a nonprofit organization with food banks in Columbia, Florence and Greenville, SC. For more information, please visit www.harvesthope.org.