As we enter into this season of giving, Operation Holiday Heroes is asking you to consider helping bring the joy of Christmas to children and families in our community.
Operation Holiday Heroes is a countywide collaboration to ensure that every child and family in need has toys and food for Christmas. United Way of the Lowcountry partners with the Toys for Tots Foundation, The Beaufort Gazette/Island Packet, Deep Well Project, Bluffton Self Help, The Salvation Army and Love House Ministries to accomplish this mission.
“Christmas is a magical time of year and we want every child in our community to wake up Christmas morning and experience that magic,” said Chrystie Turner, director of Allocations and Community Engagement at United Way of the Lowcountry.
Last year, Operation Holiday Heroes provided Christmas gifts and meals to 1,488 families throughout Beaufort and Jasper counties, including 3,200 children, according to a news release. This year, United Way of the Lowcountry anticipates those numbers will be much higher as many working families are still struggling to make ends meet due to the impacts of Hurricane Matthew.
“Many of our neighbors who have never needed help in the past are reaching out for assistance,” said Turner. “The reality is, many of the people who have given in the past to Operation Holiday Heroes may not be able to donate this year and may actually be on the receiving end. We are hearing from a lot of people who lost wages during the hurricane and had to spend the money they were planning to pay their bills with on evacuation costs, paying for repairs and meeting high insurance deductibles. Any extra money they had put aside for Christmas gifts this year, likely was spent to help make ends meet.”
Ways to Help with Operation Holiday Heroes
Donate toys by dropping them off at one of the many Toys for Tots boxes throughout Beaufort and Jasper counties. For a full list of toy donation drop-off locations, visit www.toysfortots.org.
To make a monetary donation, make checks payable to Operation Holiday Heroes. Send checks to United Way of the Lowcountry, P.O. Box 202, Beaufort, SC 29901 or drop off at United Way of the Lowcountry (Beaufort Office), 1277 Ribaut Road. (Contributors who make a monetary donation will be recognized and listed weekly in the Beaufort Gazette/Island Packet. Please indicate if you wish to remain anonymous.)
You can also:
▪ Host a holiday or dinner party and collect gifts for Operation Holiday Heroes.
▪ Make a donation in memory of a loved one or in honor of them.
▪ Businesses can become a Toys for Tots drop-off location by requesting a box on the Toys for Tots website, www.toysfortots.org.
If you need Christmas assistance, reach out by registering for Operation Holiday Heroes. Those needing assistance this holiday season, should register at one of the following locations throughout Beaufort and Jasper counties. (Note: Children are not allowed at sign-up or toy distribution.)
Northern Beaufort County
▪ Love House Ministries: 843-525-1043, 423C Parris Island Gateway, Beaufort. Love House Ministries will be conducting their registration process from 12:30 to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays now through Dec. 22.
▪ Bluffton Self Help: 843-757-8000, 39 Sheridan Park Circle, Suite 10. Bluffton Self Help will be conducting their registration process from Monday to Dec. 10.
Hilton Head Island
▪ Deep Well Project: 843-785-2849, 80 Capital Drive. If you live on Hilton Head Island, Deep Well will be conducting their registration process from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturday and Dec. 3.
Bluffton Self Help is collaborating with the Antioch Educational Center, Agape Family Life Center, Community First, and Community of One to provide Christmas assistance to Jasper and Hampton counties. Registrations will be conducted at the below sites:
▪ Antioch Tarboro Center: 843-645-9400
▪ Jasper County School (old high school): 5 to 7 p.m. Nov. 29
▪ Agape Family Life Center: 843-784-6008, 5855 South Okatie Highway, Hardeeville. Registrations from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Thursday now through Dec. 8.
For more information, contact United Way of the Lowcountry at 843-982-3040 or www.uwlowcountry.org.