Garlic has been used for centuries as both food and medicine. Eating garlic provides a variety of health benefits, such as reduced heart disease risk and enhanced immune function.

The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control and FoodShare Bamberg County, a division of Southeastern Housing and Community Development, already partner to produce and deliver boxes of fresh fruit and vegetables every other Thursday to the community.

The boxes also include recipe cards for healthy meals from DHEC’s SNAP-Ed Nutritional Education program.

Thanks to the sponsorship of Healthy Blue South Carolina, a division of Blue Cross Blue Shield, last Thursday’s boxes included spices – cinnamon, garlic powder and Italian seasoning – that will help families season the dishes supplied on the recipe cards that come with each box.

The idea came about as the result of a conversation between Farrah Wigand, DHEC registered dietician and nutritionist; Lara Buss, community engagement program manager for FoodShare Bamberg; and Samantha Pace, assistant director of Clemson University’s SNAP Ed program.

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While discussing the need to address health disparities, they talked about the reality that not every family has all the spices necessary to make the many healthy dishes that come on the recipe cards.

“We talked about the best way to solicit funding to get the most common spices that the recipes typically call for and that people needed the most, and Sarah King, who is also in Clemson’s SNAP Ed program with me, reached out to Healthy Blue and secured the partnership,” Pace said.

Healthy Blue made a one-time donation of $3,000 for the purchase of the spices, identified as the three that appeared most frequently and that people needed the most.

“We are so excited to be able to expand opportunities for people to create and cook healthy meals at home,” Wigand said.

Buss agreed.

“FoodShare Bamberg is thrilled to partner with SNAP-Ed and Healthy Blue to provide spices for our Housing and HEALing Partners customers,” Buss said. “Our recipe cards, created by SNAP-Ed, reflect the fruit and vegetables in our fresh produce box. Now we are able to also provide the spices that pair with the recipes!”

Pamela McKnight of HEALing Partners said the partnership is a win for the residents of Bamberg County.

“We are exceptionally excited about the partnership with FoodShare Bamberg, SNAP Ed and HealthyBlue to enhance this much-needed program,” McKnight said. “It’s a great example of collective impact, and there are even greater works ahead!”

FoodShare Bamberg, which is located at 2477 Main Highway in Bamberg, and its partners are committed to feed a need in their community by providing access to fresh, affordable produce.

“Supporting FoodShare Bamberg ensures that our community can feed their families with dignity,” Buss said. “We are volunteer-driven and have amazing volunteers who believe in our mission to help families to enjoy fresh fruits and vegetables.”

To learn more about FoodShare Bamberg, visit or call 803-571-5516.

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