MISSION: To provide relief to victims of disasters and help people prevent, prepare for, and respond to emergencies
Nationwide, the American Red Cross is known for sheltering, feeding, and counseling people in need, whether they’ve been impacted by a hurricane or a house fire. But have you considered what the local chapter does for our community—Beaufort, Berkeley, Charleston, Colleton, Dorchester, Hampton, and Jasper counties to be specific? It’s the only service organization that visits the scene of a disaster to provide comfort; shelter; and financial assistance to replace food, clothing, medications, and more. It helps members of the armed forces stay in touch with their families during births, deaths, and illnesses; offers training courses in lifesaving skills; and maintains blood supplies. And the Charleston, SC Region chapter does it all with 2,914 volunteers plus a mere 21 employees. This means that from every $1 donated, 91 cents goes straight to providing essential services.
MISSION: To bring compassion, faith, and excellence to people living with HIV/AIDS
According to the Centers for Disease Control, more than 1.2 million people in the United States are living with HIV/AIDS, and the associated annual health-care costs are an estimated $26,000 per person. In April 2000, Roper St. Francis Healthcare (RSFH) introduced its Ryan White Program, offering medical care, life-saving medications, and support to HIV/AIDS patients who have insufficient health-care coverage or financial resources. Within the first three months, the program received 372 referrals; since that time, more than 2,000 patients have benefitted. This year, RSFH opened its flagship Wellness Center, where a range of integrated care and support—from necessary vaccines to medical case management to housing services—are provided in one location. “I am thankful every day for this team,” wrote one patient. “In fact, I feel I owe my very existence to this program.” www.ryanwhiteofcharleston.org
MISSION: To offer support and encouragement to children diagnosed with cancer and their families by providing free year-round programs, special events, and access to crisis resources
For 29 years, Camp Happy Days has helped South Carolina kids get some kicks while kicking cancer. The nonprofit was founded on the belief that every child diagnosed with the disease should be able to enjoy summer camp—plus trips to Disney World and more—despite their economic situation. Today, it serves more than 250 patients and their families annually, working to improve participants’ physical, emotional, and psychological health through year-round programs and access to crisis resources. Supporters can lend a hand through fundraising events such as the December 2 Cabooty Holiday Party & Auction at Memminger Auditorium. www.camphappydays.org
MISSION: To improve the quality of life for children with multiple disabilities
It’s not every day a child’s life inspires an education movement, but that’s exactly what one little girl did. Pattison Sloat was born with significant brain damage, resulting in spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy and multiple handicaps. When her parents, Mark and Pam, began researching schools, they found limited local options. Thus the 2006 creation of Pattison’s Academy and Therapeutic Summer Camp, and four years later the opening of the Pattison’s Academy for Comprehensive Education charter school for severely disabled and medically fragile children ages five to 21. Every year, roughly $21,000 is needed per child to fund the programs, including physical and occupational therapy and special education. Of these funds, $13,000 is provided by the state and federal governments. Through annual fundraisers, such as their January Music with Friends of Pattison concert, Pattison’s makes up the difference that not only improves the life of each child, but the lives of their parents, family, and ultimately the community at large.
MISSION: To create and sustain an equine therapy facility where people with disabilities of all kinds can learn, grow, and heal
Rein and Shine has been providing therapeutic horseback riding for disabled students since 2001, serving more than 80 handicapped children each year. A premier accredited facility member of the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International (PATH International), the organization helps physically and mentally handicapped individuals build mobility, coordination, and posture, while improving self-esteem, self-confidence, and independence through equine-assisted activities. Rein and Shine relies on grants, donations, and fundraisers to provide scholarships and continue their mission, and a gift as small as $65 is enough to provide a child with one therapeutic session—a small price considering the lifelong impact an afternoon spent with a gentle horse can have on a disabled child. reinandshine.org