Giving Back Profiles: Business, Limehouse Produce
Delivering fresh produce and needed funds to area charities
Like the 30 trucks moving in and out of Limehouse Produce’s central warehouse in North Charleston, the company’s owners, Andrea and Jack Limehouse, are always on the go with ideas, logistics, and plans, including those to improve the community. Started by H.B. Limehouse in 1945, Limehouse Produce is one of Charleston’s original fresh foodstuffs distributors, supplying fruits and veggies to restaurants, schools, institutions, and retail outlets throughout the tri-county area. And for nearly as long, the company has been a substantial charitable contributor, giving more than $80,000 worth of food and $75,000 in financial donations alone last year.
“Andrea and Jack never say ‘no’ to anyone when asked for support,” says Trident Technical College Foundation executive director Kim Sturgeon, who has worked with Andrea on the Trident Technical College Foundation Board since 2005. In addition to sharing her expertise on the board, Andrea served on the steering committee for the foundation’s recent “Building Opportunity” capital campaign and, with Jack, created the Limehouse Produce Endowed Scholarship Fund, which provides scholarship support for students enrolled in the Culinary Institute of Charleston.
“I really believe that education is the answer to a lot of our nation’s economic problems,” she explains. “With a two-year degree or certificate, our graduates can go straight to work or into a four-year institution. This is a way to make a huge difference in the community for an affordable amount of money.”
With their ceaseless support of local institutions and people, Andrea and Jack are making a huge difference, fighting hunger and joblessness on a daily basis. Limehouse donates massive amounts of food to the Lowcountry Food Bank (LCFB), Crisis Ministries, Tricounty Family Ministries, Holy Communion Church, and Mepkin Abbey, among other institutions. Since 2005, the LCFB has received 750,000 pounds. “Limehouse Produce is a true champion in the fight to end hunger,” says LCFB president Pat Walker. “They recognize that the need for hunger relief in our community is significant and are passionate in their annual support of our mission.”
The company and the founding family are also renowned for their support of sprouting local producers. When the land for Lowcountry Local First’s (LLF) Incubator Farm fell through, they donated acreage to help complete the 10-acre project. LLF’s Dirt Works, located on the Limehouse family’s Walnut Hill Plantation, provides six farmers the opportunity to share equipment and resources, as well as a teaching plot for apprentices, students, and the public. “I can honestly say that I’ve never met a more generous individual than Andrea Limehouse,” says LLF executive director Jamee Haley. “The Limehouse family is passionate about each project it supports, not only providing funding but also a wealth of expertise.”
Giving back, it seems, is a way of life at Limehouse Produce. “We make our living from the community, so it makes perfect sense to have a reciprocal relationship,” Andrea explains. “We don’t help out for flashy reasons. We do it because we’ve always done it.”
LIMEHOUSE BY THE NUMBERS
Supports more than 25 South Carolina-based farmers
Serves more than 500 customers every day
Contributes 3,000 pounds of food each week to nonprofits
Gives more than $80,000 worth of food and $75,000 in monetary donations annually