To our generous neighbors and friends,
It would seem impossible to write anything about the past nine months that hasn’t already been written or said. Few of us have likely lived through a more distressing time. The hardest hit financially in our community are our neighbors who were already economically vulnerable—living paycheck to paycheck and barely making ends meet. Already fearing for the health and safety of their families, many quickly faced furloughs and layoffs and the added stress of impending financial collapse. Imagine feeling as though you couldn’t breathe and not knowing whether you’d contracted the virus or were having a panic attack as a sense of hopelessness befell you. That’s exactly the feeling that countless of our neighbors felt.
At Bluffton Self Help, we knew that we had big decisions to make, and that we needed to make them quickly. How would we continue to provide our vital services to the community while keeping our staff and volunteers safe? The reality of those decisions hit home quickly as, early in the pandemic, we lost a beloved volunteer to the virus.
The truth of that decision process, however, is that our staff—to the person—never wavered. They believed that it was times like this when Bluffton Self Help was needed more than ever, and they weren’t about to walk away from those in need. They quickly put new protocols and processes in place and converted our walk-in food pantry to a drive-through pantry staffed by our 5 staff members and a small team of dedicated volunteers. Our financial assistance program was revamped into a remote application and vetting process so it could continue to operate as well.
The results speak for themselves. Because of your generosity, to date we have been able to provided more than 275,000 meals for 1,002 families, keeping healthy food on the table and saving them tens of thousands of dollars in food cost. What’s more, thanks to you, we have kept the utilities on and helped 628 families avoid eviction through $641,420 in financial assistance awards.
When we’re asked what Bluffton Self Help is, long before we start talking about our wellness food pantry, Education and Resource Center, financial assistance program or dozens of other services, we always answer that Bluffton Self Help is neighbors helping neighbors. Never have we seen that more clearly than this year as your generosity has exceeded all of our expectations, and made 2020 the most rewarding year of our 34-year history. On behalf of all of those you have helped this year we send this heartfelt THANK YOU!