BLUFFTON, S.C. (WSAV) – The month of May is a crucial one for a Lowcountry charity preparing for summer.

Even now, many food staples and the typical surplus are off the menu at Bluffton Self Help’s market.

“You see, this would normally be full completely of rice and we are low on rice and even our rice overflow is low,” Courtney Hampson, CEO of Bluffton Self Help, said pointing to empty shelves.

Items like pasta, sauce, peanut butter, rice, beans and more are low or nearly gone.

“It’s empty,” says Hampson as she points to another empty shelf. “As of tomorrow morning, 45 people will come to shop. We will do mobile deliveries for another 15 families tomorrow so we are constantly between food distributions our volunteers and team are assessing what we have and how do we get through tomorrow… same as our neighbors really.”

The agency says much of the help and donations it gets around the holidays start to dry up as the weather gets hotter.

It’s a bad time for that to happen.

The COVID SNAP benefits have ended, prices of groceries are up 8% or more and the number of people coming to the pantry for food help are up by 10%.

In addition, the Postal Service food drive that normally brings in 1000 bags of food or more isn’t happening this year.

Here are some of BSH’s numbers:

–              850 families rely on The Market for groceries annually

–              10,000 pounds of groceries are shopped for each week

–              Beaufort County is now considered the most expense place to live in the state

–              Families are spending nearly $400 a month more on groceries compared to last year

–              The need is up 10%, our cost to purchase fresh foods is up 8% over last year

Bluffton Self Help is asking for the community’s help during its “Stock the Market” campaign. Their goal is to supply 8,000 bags of non-perishable food for families in need.

“With summer coming, kids will be out of school, so the lunch and snacks they may have gotten at school aren’t going to happen,” Hampson added. “Mom and dad are going to have to spend a little more on groceries and have to spend more on child care this summer, which is going to impact the budget, too.”

And make parents change their schedules and potential affect their salaries, and budgets.

“It flips in the summer. Kids are home so I have got to keep track of the kids so do i need to shorten my hours or pay for child care the math doesn’t always work out.”

“So our goal is to pack these shelves to the rafters to help get through the entire summer.”

If you would like to drop off your own bag of food, visit Bluffton Self Help 39 Sheridan Park Cir. Monetary donations can be made online at

There will also be a special “Stock The Market Saturday” event on May 13th from 9am-1pm. You can come in on that Saturday and make in person weekend donations.