FLORENCE, S.C. (WBTW) – Marva Smalls, a Viacom executive, says she’s blessed and fortunate. She learned early about the importance of paying it forward and she’s doing so by giving Harvest Hope Pee Dee $30,000.

“I ascribe to Marian Wright’s mantra, ‘Service is the rent we pay for a living,’ and also in remembering John Lewis during his time,” says Smalls. “I’m happy to get into some good trouble with Nicole and pay it forward for our neighbors and families in need here in Florence County.”

Nicole Echols, executive director of Harvest Hope Pee Dee, says the need in the Pee Dee has always been great. Food insecurity during the pandemic has made it worse. The $30,000 donation will allow them to better address the lack of capacity to meet the need.

Smalls challenges other neighbors, businesses and the community to help where they can.

“I want to multiply this $30,000 and pay it forward for us to serve as many families, neighbors…those who we may not even expect,” says Smalls. “To give them a sense of dignity where they don’t have to choose between their job, their rent, their heat, and food for their family.

“I think we are Florence Strong and we can make it happen,” Smalls says.

No donation is too small, either, Echols says. “Every single dollar makes a difference. A lady who is sitting at home and writes a $25 check a month for the last 10 years is just as impactful as someone who gives up their money to make a donation to make sure their neighbors and their friends and family members know they have something to eat,” Echols says.

In a separate quote from Smalls:

Since the onset of the COVID-19, pandemic food insecurity has increased exponentially in the United States.  I’ve watched the stories showcasing miles-long car lines, all waiting for a basic necessity…food.   Here in Florence County, while we may not see the car lines, we unfortunately have far too many families in need …too many not sure of their next meal.  Food should not be an issue for anyone at anytime, especially in what is supposed to be the richest country in the world.

I hoping that through this match, others will join me in helping to bridge the gap towards food security for our neighbors throughout Florence County. This match is an opportunity to double or triple the families that Harvest Hope serves in our community. Together we are #FlorenceStrong!

Ours is a shared journey,
Marva Smalls
Marva Smalls Endowment

If you would like to participate in the challenge, you can make donations here.