Putting a good meal on the table can be difficult for some families. That realization, along with the knowledge that many of its residents wanted to help or were among those in need, spurred Southern Management Corp. (SMC) to launch the SMC Food Pantry.

The program takes donated nonperishable items and distributes them to needy families living in SMC developments. Participants fill out an information card describing why they need the food and submit it to SMC’s corporate community relations team.

One resident noted how recent medical bills put a strain on his grocery money, while another indicated how her part-time income wasn’t enough for both rent and food. Within a month of the pantry’s start-up, 160 families living at SMC properties indicated they were struggling to put food on the table.

Donation barrels are placed in each individual property’s management offices during food-drive times and then transported to a corporate location. The community relations team sorts, packs, and delivers about a week or two’s worth of food anonymously to each family that’s filled out a food request.

More than 175 families have been helped since the program’s inception in late 2013.