Deep Well anniversary a community milestone

The Deep Well Project's 40th anniversary observance Sunday offers the community a chance to celebrate.

The private social services agency has always been a community effort. Its cause has broken down racial, cultural and economic barriers to address human needs in a personal way.

Its longevity is a testament to that broad support -- from churches, civic clubs, individuals and businesses. For that, the full community should be proud.

Deep Well has lasted because it has kept its mission simple, without a lot of fuss and frills. It accepts private donations of money and goods so it can help people who need food, help with a bill, perhaps a piece of furniture -- something very practical to get through a crisis.

Its unusual name comes from its beginnings. It helped Hilton Head Islanders get deep wells and septic systems in place to eradicate health problems related to shallow wells. It has since become a broader safety net by addressing numerous other needs.

Perhaps its greatest contribution is the statement it makes, along with countless other local volunteer-driven nonprofit organizations. It says that when the community sees a problem, it will do something about it. Rather than turn the other way, plenty of people and organizations over the years have rolled up their collective sleeves and gotten busy to help their neighbors.

Beaufort County is considered wealthy, especially by South Carolina standards. It does have wealth, but it also has social services needs that stretch from the cradle to the grave for large numbers of people.

Deep Well represents a sense of giving and volunteerism that distinguishes a community much better than wealth.

The family event set for 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday at Honey Horn will mark a significant milestone for Deep Well. But this community has many more miles to go, and that requires constant support.

If Deep Well, and similar organizations, are to celebrate 50th, 60th and 100th anniversaries, it will only be because the community at large cares and contributes.