ELI students spent a few weeks this summer learning about the many charities in the area. Advanced writing students researched and wrote essays about local and national charities, including Habitat for Humanity, the Big Brother/Big Sister organization, and the Ronald McDonald House charities. Once the research essays were completed, students presented their papers in class.
In addition to learning about charities, students decided it was important to contribute too. In late June we spent a morning volunteering by sorting canned and packaged foods at the Low Country Food Bank. Located in North Charleston, the food bank distributes over 30 million pounds of fresh, canned and packaged foods to 10 coastal communities in SC each year. Leaders told our group that the food bank helps over 200,000 people each year and that 50% of the people who need help are children and senior citizens. We were surprised to learn that from this location, food is sent to 300 agencies – as far north as Myrtle Beach – who distribute it to those who need it.
Students also toured 180 Place in early July. 180 Place is the largest homeless shelter in downtown Charleston. Their mission is to help those who are homeless to find affordable housing. In 2016, 1754 people stayed at the shelter and 996 of them left there with homes of their own! In addition to providing 160 men, women, and children with a place to sleep, 180 Place also serves 3 meals a day and has a free medical clinic for its guests.
The students were so impressed with this tour that we decided to volunteer to serve a meal there later this summer!