In Beaufort and Jasper Counties, 50,000 households struggle to make ends meet. Our community is in crisis.
Down the bumpy dirt roads, behind the doors of homes without full kitchens or working plumbing, in the bedrooms shared by a family of five, is a neighbor that can’t see past tomorrow because there will not be enough in this month’s budget to buy groceries.
Bluffton Self Help offers the basic needs support and education programs to empower our neighbors, the hard working families who are simply trying to make ends meet.
The Market at Bluffton Self Help distributes 10,000 pounds of food each week to 350 households so that our neighbors do not have to skip meals to pay for other essentials like medicine, gas, childcare, and the unpredictable flat tire.
Bluffton Self Help’s education team supports 122 volunteer tutors to help teach language skills, citizenship, digital literacy, and GED preparation to more than 325 adult learners so that our neighbors can chase their dreams and earn a livable wage.
Our intake and client advocate team meets our neighbors where they are, listen to their stories, and empowers them to set goals and achieve them. Then we walk that path to success with our neighbors, every step of the way. Sometimes that means taking a step back, and sometimes that means walking the path for years until they finally get ahead. Bluffton Self Help’s staff and volunteers are committed to doing what it takes to help 50,000 households reach their full potential and thrive in our community.
This year we launched our Path Forward – the road map to creating a community of opportunity for all – a strategic initiative informed by data and driven by people. Then we invested in those people, our neighbors, our staff, and volunteers. Our team of Red Apron Volunteers doubled in size and their roles expanded to support all of our programs and places. We broke down barriers for our adult learners and decreased annual student fees to $20. The education team improved attendance rates by 25% by developing a new curriculum and program structure, investing in volunteer tutor training, and open and honest communication. With help from our community partners, we opened The Resource Hub, the “living room” of BSH, where the journey starts for many of our neighbors. Since March, the Hub welcomed 1,268 client intakes and client advocates were able to work one-on-one with 414 neighbors. Showing our neighbors the path is not enough, we must walk the path to self-sufficiency with them. Behind these successes and stats, are relationships, between our volunteers, our neighbors, and our community.
We cannot do this work alone. Creating change takes a community. We remain deeply grateful for your compassion and partnership. Bluffton Self Help is better because of you.
In the new year, I invite you to share the story of why you support our work with someone you know. Those stories are how we will create long-term, impactful change.