Bluffton Self Help served approximately 34,000 individuals in 2012.
In 1987, Bluffton resident Ida Martin recognized a great need that was not being met for working families and senior citizens in the area, and so began Bluffton Self Help, which was chartered a year later in October of 1988.
At that time, nearby Hilton Head Island had a wonderful organization whose mission was to provide assistance to islanders in need, but nothing was available to help Bluffton residents when they had a financial crisis.
Initially working out of her garage, Mrs. Martin obtained resources from family and friends and sometimes went door to door. Clothing was donated and food was obtained by driving to the grocery stores on Hilton Head Island and picking up outdated food items.
Over the years, the agency’s location changed four times. Prior to our recent move, Bluffton Self Help was located in the former police station/jail in Old Bluffton. As of November, the agency moved to a new building conveniently located at 39 Sheridan Park Circle in Sheridan Park, in Bluffton.
The new space offers over 6,500 square feet of space. Bluffton Self Help has grown to provide a variety of services that include short- term emergency financial assistance to working families in a documented crisis with past due rents to prevent eviction and utility bills including electricity, propane gas and water to prevent disconnection of services, medications, children’s program and minor home repairs to working families and seniors on fixed incomes.
In 2011, Bluffton Self Help served over 22,000 people, and provided approximately $128,000 to 513 families for short- term emergency assistance towards housing/utility bills, medical assistance or children’s programs assistance. We expect needs to grow by 40% in 2012.
In addition to our core service to make free food available whenever needed, Bluffton Self Help staff and volunteers coordinate a variety of service projects, including Thanksgiving dinners to families in need, toys at Christmas, Easter baskets, warm blankets and coats in winter, and school supplies at the beginning of each school year.
Today, Bluffton Self Help operates out of a 6,500 square foot building located in Sheridan Park, Bluffton, SC. The facility offers food distribution five times a week, clothing distribution Monday through Friday and three interview rooms for providing financial assistance to qualified Bluffton residents facing a financial emergency. There is a receiving area in the rear of the building to collect donated food and clothing.
The building, computers, racks and shelving was supplied by members of the business community and individuals making it possible for the agency to own and operate the building free of any debt.
We welcome visitors and invite community members to drop in and see how their assistance is helping to provide hunger relief in the Greater Bluffton area. If you have any questions you can call the agency 10 am to 4 pm, Monday through Friday at 843-757-8000.