Graniteville Chocolate Maker fighting childhood hunger through candy bars

GRANITEVILLE, S.C. (WJBF) – An Aiken County chocolate company is making the world a better place one meal at a time.

“Being a father of three, I don’t know what I would do if I couldn’t feed my own children.” James Stefanakos, Founder of Antebellum Chocolate, told WJBF NewsChannel 6.

An engineer turned chocolatier is making life sweeter for more than just his customers.

“I would always go and have lunch with my oldest daughter, once a month.” Stefanakos said. “She was going to Byrd Elementary at the time and I would notice children taking food off their trays for their dinner that night and it really bothered me.”

It was that very moment that inspired Stefanakos to take a bite out of childhood hunger, by turning his love for chocolate into a movement.

The local ingredients are delivered straight from the farm.

“We are his supplier for local honey,” said Sue Clayton of the Colston Honeybee Farm.

The chocolate bars are made by hand, wrapped by hand, and sealed by hand before they’re hand delivered to dozens of locally owned businesses.

The Book Tavern Co-owner David Hutchinson says people are always curious about the yummy treats under the “buy a bar, feed a child” sign.

“We talk about Antebellum as often as we get the opportunity to,” Hutchinson told WJBF NewsChannel 6. “To tell [customers] about the mission of Antebellum Chocolate it gives us an opportunity to encourage them, and of course also to taste some of the best chocolate that you can put in your mouth.”

The sweet treats help fund the Golden Harvest Food Bank backpack program, that provides kids with a bags containing enough food for a weekend.

“Having businesses like that participate with us is a real blessing,” said Melissa Brown, Development Officer Golden Harvest Food Bank.

“I’m glad that it’s one less stress hopefully we can get off their plate and maybe get them on the right road to a better life down the road.” Stefanakos said.

Stefanakos says he’s just 27 bars shy of feeding 16,000 kids nationally.

Antebellum Chocolate has provided 383 backpacks, or 1532 meals, since beginning their partnership with Golden Harvest Food Bank.

The company personally sponsor 10 kids through the backpack program.

To find out where to purchase the chocolate click here. 

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