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      Harvest Hope beefs up emergency supplies in preparation of Hurricane Irene

      Harvest Hope has been helping feed the needy for more than 25 years.

      COLUMBIA (WACH) -- Distributing food to the needy is routine for those working at Harvest Hope Food Bank.

      The agency serves an average of 38,500 people a week in 20 counties across South Carolina, and will continue to do so despite Hurricane Irene.

      We are not certain what impact this storm will have, but we just like to be prepared, said Chief Operating Officer Chris Daly of Harvest Hope Food Bank.

      On Wednesday, hundreds of boxes quickly move down a conveyer belt as staff and volunteers fill each one with enough items to feed an individual for three days.

      It TMs a very scary thing to know that the need could grow to more than we could accomplish here, adds Bobbi Bouknight.

      Bouknight is the food sourcing representative for the agency and knows exactly how much food it takes to prevent families from going hungry on a daily basis, however, it TMs hard to predict what the need will be after a natural disaster.

      Ultimately, the number of emergency relieve boxes packed and shipped from Columbia will depend on Hurricane Irene, but officials say they will have 1,000 ready to go to the Pee Dee this week.

      If storm bypasses the region, Harvest Hope will use the boxes for its clients who already have enough trouble getting food to their tables without Mother Nature interfering.