Bluffton Self Help readies for move

astice@islandpacket.comOctober 25, 2011 

Artist Betty Luntey was busy painting the first section of a mural in the children's area of the new Bluffton Self Help building Tuesday afternoon. A crew of volunteers were on hand unpacking boxes and organizing donations to prepare for the grand opening.

JONATHAN DYER, THE ISLAND PACKET

  • Bluffton Self Help plans inaugural events for clients and donors to celebrate the move to its new headquarters.

    A 2.2-mile "Ride to 39" event will begin at 10 a.m. Saturday. Clients will win donated bicycles, based on transportation needs, and ride from the location on May River Road to the new building for a hot dog cookout. To donate a bicycle or to apply for one, call 843-757-8000.

    On Nov. 10, an invitation-only cocktail reception will be held.

  • Get breaking news, story updates and fun things to do in Bluffton by following Bluffton Blog on Twitter.

Just in time for holiday dinners and toy drives, Bluffton Self Help will open the doors to a new, bigger space that will allow it to help more people in the community, leaders say.

The organization will reopen Nov. 7 at 39 Sheridan Park Circle, Suite 10, after closing for half a day Nov. 4 to finish the move.

The new location, which once housed a granite and tile company, is six times larger than the crowded former town jail occupied since 1996.

Bluffton Self Help primarily provides short-term emergency financial assistance, free food and free clothing to needy residents.

Executive director Lili Coleman said amenities such as a community room will allow the nonprofit organization to expand its services. It will be able to provide volunteer training and classes to help clients become more self-sufficient.

For example, volunteers will be trained at the end of the month to operate a Benefits Bank, where clients can apply for federal and state programs such as food stamps.

The organization also wants to launch a college scholarship program in honor of its founder, Ida Martin.

The building has more space for parking, storage and people waiting for assistance, said board president Peter Bromley.

"No one will ever wait outside in line again," Bromley said.

The $575,000 building was purchased with money from grants, foundations and a capital campaign drive. Another $200,000 is needed to pay off the renovations and begin a utility endowment.

Bromley said Bluffton Self Help did not have to dip into its general fund for the new headquarters.

Basic items that could have cost the organization thousands of dollars have also been donated, such as refrigerators and shelves for the food pantry.

As Bromley and Coleman prepared the new space Tuesday, Coleman remarked, "It might look a little empty for a while."

Bromley wasn't so sure.

"That's what we said about the clothing section, and look at that," he said, pointing to racks and shelves filled with donated apparel.

Follow reporter Allison Stice at twitter.com/BlufftonBlogIP.

Related content

  1. Bluffton Self Help founder says she's ready for the White House, Oct. 18, 2011
  2. Bluffton Self Help founder wins Presidential Citizens Medal, Oct. 12, 2011
  3. Local nonprofit to renovate new headquarters by Thanksgiving, July 18, 2011

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