by Allison Stice
A dozen people were already lined up for food donations Tuesday at Bluffton Self Help when its executive director, Jenny Haney, arrived for work at 8:30 a.m.
By the time the nonprofit organization opened at 10 a.m., the crowd waiting for groceries had grown to more than 100 people.
For Haney, the dire need for the services Bluffton Self Help provides — food, clothing and short-term emergency financial assistance — becomes more apparent every year. By the end of 2010, the charitable group expects to exceed last year’s record of fielding 22,000 request for service.
“Everyone is just one paycheck away from standing in line for food,” Haney said, sitting at her desk in a small room where the floor is covered with piles of clothing and towels, bunches of bananas, toys and paperwork.
This holiday season, The Island Packet will extend a hand to Bluffton Self Help and to The Deep Well Project, a similar organization based on Hilton Head Island. By running stories over the holidays showing how Bluffton Self Help assists people in need, the newspaper hopes to encourage support for the organization. The Packet also will publish a list of donors who contributed to Bluffton Self Help’s operating funds.
“Like Deep Well on the island, Bluffton Self Help assists thousands of people in the greater Bluffton area who find themselves in desperate circumstances,” said Sara Johnson Borton, publisher of the Packet. “We hope that these stories will help Bluffton Self Help raise funds it needs to assist people in crisis, just as similar stories have benefited Deep Well over the years.”
Bluffton Self Help aims to provide emergency financial assistance while ultimately helping struggling families become more self-reliant. The group works with organizations from the S.C. Department of Social Services to local libraries to address the needs it encounters. That might include help with resumes to signing up for food stamps.
Bluffton Self Help also runs a children’s program by working with counselors at area schools. The group provides school supplies and uniforms and pays for eye exams for children of families at or below the poverty level.
“Whatever decisions parents have made, children should not have to suffer,” Haney said.
The organization’s toy drive will bring Santa Claus to what could be nearly 1,000 children, another record. More than 500 children are already signed up and some have been matched with donors. The final day for parents to register their children is Dec. 4, from noon to 4 p.m. at Bluffton Self Help.
Bluffton Self Help was launched in 1987 in the garage of longtime area resident Ida Martin. In 1993, its headquarters moved to the former town jail on May River Road, and it again is “bursting at the seams,” Haney said.
From Jan. 1 to Oct. 31, 8,549 individuals were given food during “Morning Food Days” on Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday each week. That’s 14 percent more than the same period last year, board of directors president Peter Bromley said. Nearly 8,000 people picked up free clothing during that period.
Next year, after more than a decade of renting extra storage space to fit donations during the holiday, the group hopes to begin construction on a building six times the size of the current one. The town of Bluffton agreed to donate land along S.C. 46 for a 6,000-square-foot building.
Want to help?
Those who wish to participate in the Bluffton Self Help fundraising campaign, which supports the organization’s charitable activities, can mail
or drop off contributions to:
Bluffton Self Help
P.O. Box 2420
Bluffton, SC 29910
or drop off at 1264 May River Road or go to
Read more: http://www.islandpacket.com/2010/11/24/1455969/bluffton-self-help-sees-need-continuously.html#ixzz17xKsxLos
Read more: http://www.islandpacket.com/2010/11/24/1455969/bluffton-self-help-sees-need-continuously.html#ixzz17xKkgtFe