All are welcome at Bluffton Self Help.
We work hard to provide a client-centered, inviting environment for all neighbors to come to when in need.
Here at Bluffton Self Help, we believe that access to healthy food and basic needs is not a privilege granted based on the country of your birth, but your right as a human being. Our programs are open to all, regardless of your background. During the COVID-19 crisis, our immigrant neighbors face increased food insecurity and financial hardship due to their exclusion from unemployment insurance benefits and Federal stimulus payments. We are working hard to help them gain access to food and other basic needs to get through this difficult time.
We are all in this together. That means we are all harmed when anyone is excluded from life-saving programs or when they fear going to the doctor or accessing vital nutrition benefits because of the Administration's changes to public charge policies. One of the most powerful lessons we are learning from this crisis is that our own wellbeing is bound up in the wellbeing of our neighbors. We are committed to ending hunger in the lowcountry and providing help for all who need it in our community.
For single mothers like Laura who is raising her 3 children. "In my country it is very difficult to get a good job. What you earn is not enough to cover all the expenses of the month. My 2 older children want to continue studying. So I decided to come to work in the US to pay for my studies and I brought my youngest son with me. Here is also difficult. I work in cleaning. You have to work very hard. 7 days a week and many hours. I live week by week, I can't save money. But thank God I always had a job. I have always been able to pay my bills and buy food and pay the expenses of my other children in my country. But now with the Coronavirus from one day to the next I am out of a job. The food was ending. The bills began to arrive- light, water, rent. THEN- they said you have to stay home. But I can't. If I don't work, there's no money. It is stressful. My son has Asperger and he also has Asthma. I am afraid to go out and bring the virus home. I also have asthma, but I have to go out and go everywhere looking for work. I take good care of myself and take all precautionary measures, but there is always the fear of catching the virus. I don't want my son to get sick. It would be very difficult for him to be alone in the hospital. I can't get sick either, there would be no-one to take care of him. I worry daily about who will take care of my son here if I get sick. If I don't work- we don't eat. I also have to pay rent, electricity, water, food and the studies of my other children in my country. They have no other family, they only have me."
"My biggest fear was having to live on the street. I had no money to pay the rent. I am not eligible for any government aid. I cannot receive benefits or anything like that. I was very stressed. Bluffton Self Help provided me with items and helped me with my rent. It has been a great help for me and my children. Your assistance prevented us from being left on the street without a home and put food on our table. It was really a great relief, a great help."
It has truly been a community effort in helping to meet the growing need amidst the pandemic. Our staff and volunteers have stepped up to become frontline heroes, adjusted schedules and responsibilities over night as things rapidly changed. They filled in wherever we needed help most. We wanted to be able to still provide a client-centered experience while being safe, and with the help of our kind and dedicated volunteers, we did and will continue to do so. We love to hear from our neighbors the impact our volunteers make. "The attention of all your volunteers is really extraordinary. They always treated me with a lot of respect and understanding. They always worried about my fears and asked about my needs. They are all very, very, friendly" says Laura.
Other neighbors jumped in to help by donating to our COVID-19 Family Relief Fund and have now impacted more than 450 lowcountry families. These generous supporters have donated more than $450,000 to help our community and neighbors in need during this difficult time, stronger. Others held food drives, dropped off donations to various community locations or made masks for friends and family and donated the proceeds to help even more neighbors stay safe. In a time filled with stress and the unknown, they provided hope. To these neighbors Laura would like to say, "I will be eternally grateful to each one of you. Your generosity and great heart have made a difference during this crisis. Thanks to you I still have a home and food on my table. God bless you always."
While it may seem like we are already in the new normal, the effects of this pandemic are wearing on. With our community by our side, Bluffton Self Help will continue to go above and beyondto safely support our hard-working neighbors get back on their feet. We know the fight is not over and we know the need will continue to grow. To those who are still fighting to recover and get back on their feet, Laura also has a message for you: "May you be strong and have faith. Although it may be hard, seek help- because you are not alone. There are many people here with a great and noble heart willing to offer help."
Bluffton Self Help is here to help our neighbors put food on the table, remain in their homes or regain financial stability. If you or someone you know is going through a difficult time, please do not hesitate to reach out, call 843-757-8000.