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In 1987, Bluffton resident Ida Martin recognized a great need that was not being met for working families and senior citizens in the area, and so began Bluffton Self Help, which was chartered a year later in October of 1988.
At that time, nearby Hilton Head Island had a wonderful organization whose mission was to provide assistance to islanders in need, but nothing was available to help Bluffton residents when they had a financial crisis.
Initially working out of her garage, Mrs. Martin obtained resources from family and friends and sometimes went door to door. Clothing was donated and food was obtained by driving to grocery stores and picking up outdated food items.
Over the years, the agency’s location changed and at one point was located in the former police station/jail in Old Bluffton. As of November 2011, the agency moved to a new building conveniently located at 39 Sheridan Park Circle in Sheridan Park, in Bluffton.
Bluffton Self Help has grown to provide a variety of services that include short- term emergency financial assistance to working families in a documented crisis with past due rents to prevent eviction and utility bills including electricity, propane gas and water to prevent disconnection of services, medications, children’s program to working families and seniors on fixed incomes.
In 2016, Bluffton Self Help served more than 10,000 people, and provided approximately $125,000 to 355 families for short- term emergency assistance. This investment to keep people safe and in their home as they face crisis saves taxpayers more than $4 million annually.
In addition to our core service to make free food available whenever needed, Bluffton Self Help staff and volunteers coordinate a variety of service projects, including Thanksgiving dinners, toys at Christmas, Easter baskets, warm blankets and coats in winter, and school supplies at the beginning of each school year.
Located at 39 Sheridan Park Circle in Bluffton, Bluffton Self Help welcomes visitors and invites community members to drop in and see how their assistance is helping to provide hunger relief in the Greater Bluffton area. If you have any questions you can call the agency 10 am to 4 pm, Monday through Friday at 843-757-8000.