In honor of AIM preparing to celebrate 30 years of service, we are beginning the celebrations early by looking back at how AIM has grown over the years. Throwback Thursday is one way that AIM can look at how far we have come, but also feature stories that are relevant to where we are today. The social media posts from this month have featured the Food Pantry and we now have the opportunity to look at each of them in relation to where AIM is now!
Our first post featured 11 young boys from Boy Scout Troop 215, who saw a need and had a desire to meet it. The AIM food pantry was nearly bare, so the boys from Troop 215 decided to hold a food drive at Sam's Club, where they collected $1,000 in both food & monetary donations. The monetary donations were around $700, so at the conclusion of their food drive, the boys went into Sam's Club and bought items off of AIM's wish list. They returned to AIM with carloads full of items to fill the food pantry: canned fruits & vegetables, cereals, toiletries, peanut butter, and much more.
Of the boys was Matthew Samstag, who praised the Anderson community as he said "I was really surprised at how generous people were...my friends and I had a great time buying food for people in our community."
Today at AIM there are still students from schools, churches, and many other groups that donate to and volunteer in the food pantry. In April of 2019 a group from Calhoun Academy of the Arts served in the food pantry putting up canned food items, counted toilet paper, and colored cards to hand out to clients. This area of volunteering at AIM is one that has only grown, and it is done generously through a child's hands.
The second post from March featured a newsletter from 1991, before AIM opened its food pantry. AIM would refer its food donations to churches in different counties, like Anderson, Honea Path, Iva, Townville, and Williamston/Pelzer. Before the food pantry at AIM was opened, families would be sent to local grocery stores for their necessities and AIM would purchase their needed items, and would later be reimbursed by churches who supported this program.
Today, AIM has partnerships with Publix, Food Lion, Walmart, and multitude of churches in the Anderson area. It is because of these partnerships that AIM is able to support its Food Pantry clients each week.
The next post for this month's Throwback Thursday spotlighted a newspaper segment from October 11, 1999 titled "Rain doesn't stop donations." In this newspaper, long time AIM supporter Nancy Henderson accepted donations from a group that collected food and around $400 on a rainy day. Also mentioned in this paper was the first scheduled Annual Hunger Walk at AnMed Health Campus for October 24, 1999.
The final Throwback Thursday post for March included AIM's budget from 1994. In this budget, it is shown that in this times AIM was able to serve 52 clients for food purposes.
Since 1994, AIM has opened its food pantry and increased its ability to serve food pantry clients from 52 to over 700 people in the community.
As we have transitioned into this time impacted by COVID-19, AIM is taking steps to ensure the health and safety of all employees, volunteers, and clients. But, we are still serving in the Food Pantry and we need your help. Donations can be made to AIM Monday-Friday from 8am - 2pm. The Food Pantry will have distribution for clients Monday-Friday from 9am-10am.
While we took a pause for Throwback Thursday's for April, we are picking back up in May and moving forward with posts leading up to our 30th anniversary celebration in November with our hashtag #aimfor30.