HARDEEVILLE, S.C. (WSAV) – A nonprofit in the Lowcountry is stepping up to help provide families in Hardeeville with the resources they need.
“I see like a lot of people who have a bunch of potential here in the city, and sometimes our circumstances don’t allow us,” Karen Cervantes a volunteer at the giveaway said.
Cervantes graduated high school as the valedictorian of her class, but said she knows many young people in Hardeeville whose financial hardships get in the way of their aspirations.
“I was unfortunate growing up, and luckily with the support of everybody I was able to become something, and now it’s my time to give back to the people that they need help,” Rick Patel, the president of the nonprofit who hosted the giveaway, said.
The Patel Foundation of the Lowcountry passed out more than 500 bookbags filled with school supplies and face masks on Saturday.
“We went from 2.5 percent unemployment to up to 12. I think we’re now down to eight or nine. So a lot of people lost their jobs and a lot of people couldn’t afford to lose their jobs. The underlying importance of what we’re doing here is creating community spirit. We’ve always felt from the beginning that the way to fight COVID is to fight it as a community,” Hardeeville Mayor Harry Williams relayed.
Councilmen Bo White and John Carroll said the reaction from the kids in the cars pulling up was what made the event.
“I think the highlight is handing these to a child and their eyes just gleaming, it’s sort of like Christmas in September. Just the joy of them getting it, having the different supplies, it’s really touching for all of us,” White described.
The bookbag drive was Patel’s third event he’s hosted to help provide support to families in need
“There’s more events to come if you couldn’t make it. We’re going to have tutoring after schools and sooner than later cyber cafes for students who don’t have access to internet can have somewhere to go for free,” Patel added.
Volunteers said if you or someone you know needs help putting food on the table, Agape Family Life Center (5855 S Okatie Hwy) holds free food drives every Wednesday and Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. You can call (843) 784-6008 for additional help.