Local charities look to new year for help in stocking up

rheaton@beaufortgazette.comJanuary 2, 2012 

Though Bluffton Self Help had a successful Christmas fund, the charity still has one big donation concern heading into the new year: Its food pantry is low. Non-perishable items are in short supply, as evidenced by the empty shelves surrounding volunteer Nancy Meyer in the organization's storage room.

JAY KARR/THE BEAUFORT GAZETTE

Even after a Christmas season of giving, there are still needs to be met, several Beaufort County charities say.

Bluffton Self Help, the Deep Well Project and the Salvation Army have wrapped up their Christmas season fundraisers. Both Bluffton Self Help and Deep Well said their fundraisers went well considering the slow economy.

The Salvation Army, however, saw a disappointing drop in kettle donations.

SALVATION ARMY

At the Salvation Army, donations were down for the organization's well-known Red Kettle Campaign, held every year from the Friday before Thanksgiving through Dec. 24.

"We've watched the kettles come in, and every day the kettles were low," said Sally Barth, bookkeeper at the organization's Beaufort office.

She estimated that donations were down about $13,000 in 2011 from 2010. In 2010, the campaign raised about $68,000, which was up some from 2009.

Barth said she wasn't sure how the donation dip would affect the charity, but was optimistic that its social services wouldn't be cut.

"We will still do what we do," she said. "There are other ways we might look to cut down. ... I hope it won't affect us too much."

BLUFFTON SELF HELP

Peter Bromley, the president of Bluffton Self Help's board of directors, said the organization is on pace to match or possibly beat 2010 Christmas donations. At last count, it had raised a little over $60,000. The money will be used throughout the year to help families and individuals facing emergency needs.

In 2010, Bluffton Self Help raised about $67,000, Bromley said.

Bromley said the organization has seen record numbers in 2011 for those seeking help, about 25 percent more than in 2010.

Bluffton Self Help does have one concern heading into the new year: Its food pantry is low. Bromley said the charity could run out of supplies within two weeks without donations.

DEEP WELL

Betsy Doughtie, the director of Deep Well on Hilton Head Island, said requests for Christmas dinners were up in 2011, and they've climbed since the economic downturn began. The charity gives needy families the ingredients for a Christmas dinner, including a frozen turkey.

In 2011, 264 families received dinners from Deep Well, compared to 217 in 2010.

Deep Well is also on track with its Christmas fundraiser, Doughtie said. Since 2009, the organization has consistently netted about $300,000 during the holidays through its Empty Well campaign that is featured in the Packet. The money is used year-round to help families facing emergency financial hardships.

So far in 2011, it has raised about $272,000. More money usually comes during the first week of the new year, Doughtie said.

"We're very fortunate that the community always comes through," she said.

Follow reporter Rachel Heaton at twitter.com/HomeroomBft.

The Island Packet is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service