Making a difference


Donations are always welcome at the many charitable organizations in the area. But the gift of time that volunteers give is invaluable —and often incalculable.

Betsy Doughtie, director of the Deep Well Project, calls volunteers “the life blood of Deep Well. They make it all happen.”

At the Deep Well Project, which helps the working poor,  there are only two full-time and two part-time employees, so volunteers are out there doing the much-needed work. The office volunteers take requests for aid and follow-up to validate the need for help. There are food delivery volunteers working each weekday who arrive early at the Deep Well Project offices to pick up and deliver food to needy families.

Doughtie said that this time of the year requires many extra volunteers because Deep Well provides Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners to its clients, and volunteers pack and deliver those dinners. Volunteers also sort through toys and gift packages to put under the holiday tree.

The United Way of the Lowcountry probably works with the largest number of volunteers in the county, according to Jill Briggs, executive vice president. “Lots of our volunteers help us with our annual campaign. We have campaign chairs, campaign team members and volunteers who coordinate employee campaigns in the workplace.”

Briggs said the number of volunteers might total 600 in one year. “And that number doesn’t include the 350 kids from the Heart Work Camp with whom we work each summer to spruce up the homes of elderly and disabled citizens in Beaufort and Jasper counties.”

For 2010, United Way of the Lowcountry could use even more volunteers in the area of technology, early childhood initiatives and disaster recovery programs.

At the Boys & Girls Club of Bluffton, Clarice Allen, volunteer coordinator, is proud to say they have increased their volunteer numbers from four to 35. “Our volunteers cover a wide age range. We have some volunteers in their early 20s and some volunteers who are over the age of 90.”

The Boys & Girls Club aims to be a positive place for kids and volunteers work in many diverse ways to achieve that goal.