Packet Sea Foam: Changing needs make fundraisers important

Thanks to Betsy Doughtie of The Deep Well Project for sharing some letters that tell why fundraisers like this Friday's musical variety show "Sing Well for Deep Well" are needed.

The show will be held at 7:30 p.m. at First Presbyterian Church, 540 William Hilton Parkway on Hilton Head Island.

Performers include the Voices of El Shaddai gospel group, May River Theatre, Hilton Head Barbershop a cappella, Hilton Head Plantation Jazz Band, Shore Notes and Vocal Jazz Project. The Royer Sisters, violinists, will play at the entrance to the church as people arrive. Admission is free, but canned food and monetary donations are welcomed.

Following are excerpts from notes of thanks that Betsy, Deep Well's executive director, sent to donors over the past year:


"One of the biggest programs within Deep Well is our Livable Housing Program where we perform repairs on homes that are often in deplorable condition. Our Rita Jones works with a group of accomplished volunteers who each work about 12 hours a week to better the living conditions of our neighbors. Some of the tasks are quick, such as repairing a window for an elderly man. Some of the jobs take many weeks and might involve renovating a house or trailer for a single mother who has neither the funds nor expertise to do the job herself.

"Lorraine has ongoing needs at her house. She is in her 70s and was doing fine until her husband died two years ago. The house where the couple had lived for 30 years suddenly became unaffordable for Lorraine, yet was not salable in this economy. She was struggling to pay her basic bills and there was no question of having extra funds for the many repairs that are always necessary to a homeowner. Just recently our volunteers repaired a stove hood fan and a light fixture, along with sanding, priming and painting her front door. They also repaired some sink supply lines. All was done for $30.84, thanks to the volunteer labor.

"Just six months ago, Lorraine called to say her hot water heater was totally gone. We were able to purchase a new one, and called a plumber to install the heater."


"On a recent afternoon Deep Well received a call from a young man who was concerned about Sam. He found Sam wandering the streets, saying he had been evicted from his apartment and had no place to go. Deep Well had previous contacts with Sam, and realized that he most likely no longer had the ability to care for himself. We immediately approved seven days at a local motel, and we then called the Department of Social Services for the long-term help that Sam needed.

"DSS acted quickly and efficiently, yet it still took three weeks to approve residency for Sam in a group home. Deep Well continued to provide shelter for him at the motel. Sam is now well cared for and living in a safe and stable place.

"When elderly people find themselves in a helpless position due to mental deterioration, it is our community responsibility to help them with their basic needs. Your generosity will continue to help Sam and others like him spend their final years in comfort and safety."


Betsy also writes about the growing and changing needs of Deep Well clients.

"Perhaps the biggest need in the past two years has been with client electric bills. In 2009 Deep Well spent $65,000 on only electric bills for our clients, and that figure jumped to $98,000 in 2010. This year is no better. We've had two extremely cold winters followed by two early and brutally hot summers. Often our clients live in old mobile homes or drafty houses, so their heat and air conditioning goes right out the cracks and means they're getting huge electric bills.

"The other growing need just recently has been with providing school supplies and school uniforms to island children. Last year we provided uniforms for 233 children, and as of the first day of school this year, we reached 400 kids, with the expectation of providing a few more in the coming weeks. In 2010 we provided school supplies for 204 students, and as of the first day of school we have provided for 367 kids."

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