In 2011, Mayor Lisa Sulka named April 4th Ida Martin Day, in honor of Bluffton Self Help’s founder. Each year on this day we celebrate her continued legacy. She was a remarkable woman who worked tirelessly to establish a local organization that would help working families, disabled residents, and senior citizens in the community. Bluffton Self Help was founded nearly 37 years ago on the simple notion of neighbors helping neighbors, and it all started with one small act of kindness.
Our founder, Mrs. Ida Martin, opened the refrigerator in the home of a single mother of five children and found a single bottle of water. Mrs. Ida went out that day and filled her neighbor’s refrigerator with groceries. Others started asking for help, so Ida began asking neighbors, grocery stores and churches for donations that she collected in her garage. One year later, in 1987 Bluffton Self Help was chartered.
“When I moved there, there was nothing in the Town of Bluffton, it was a very small town and there was not even a filling station, there was not even a bank where you could put your money, not anything. So, I saw the need. And people started coming to me and asking for things and I started giving it to them. And then one day I followed a young family home who did not have anything …. in their refrigerator, they only had one bottle of water and five little girls. I went out and purchased groceries for them and really it started right from there, from that one family.” – Mrs. Ida Martin, 1923 — 2013
Her work did not go unnoticed. In 2012, she received the Alice Glenn Doughtie Good Citizenship Award from the Hilton Head Island-Bluffton Chamber of Commerce and was placed on the town of Bluffton’s Wall of Honor.
Most notably, in 2011, she received the Presidential Citizens Medal from President Barack Obama at the White House. The nation’s second-highest civilian honor recognizes Americans who perform “exemplary deeds of service.”
Let’s come together as a community to continue Mrs. Ida’s legacy through neighbors helping neighbors. More than 850 families rely on The Market to provide groceries for their families and save $4,800 each year. In Ida’s honor, help fill a neighbor’s refrigerator for an entire year by donating just $37 a month.
Through our partnerships and the community’s generosity, we can turn your monthly donation of $37 into groceries for a family.