Sunday, October 13, 2013
A ceremonial building dedication on Oct. 1 kicked off the opening of the new Lowcountry Orphan Relief Distribution Center at 1850 Truxtun Ave., North Charleston. The new facility is located behind Lowcounty Orphan Relief’s Valerie Vincent clothing closet. This is LOR’s 10th year in operation.
Lynn Young, founder/director of Lowcountry Orphan Relief, personally thanked all volunteers, donors and vendors who had a part in making the dream of this new building a reality. Young tearfully quoted her mother, “My mom always said, Lynn, the highest level of living is giving.” She added “No child should be without the basic necessities in life, regardless of their life circumstances.”
Before cutting the ribbon to open the facility, she said “We have come far since 2006. LOR has filled more than 15,000 orders for clothing, toiletries and school supplies for children in the Tri-county area who have been abandoned, neglected or abused and find themselves in desperate without basic necessities. More than 3,000 were filled in the last year and we are on track to exceed that number this year as so many continue to struggle in this tough economy.”
The Distribution Center was built to address the rapid growth LOR has experienced and the number of agencies and schools they now serve. For a decade volunteers have received donated and purchased items, sorted them by gender, age and season and stacked them on sagging shelves that line every room in the crowded facility. They fill orders as they roll in from teachers, caseworkers, guardians, foster parents and others who spot children without coats, intact shoes, school supplies and personal hygiene necessities. But the burgeoning need exceeded the capacity of the aging facility, prompted volunteer building contractors, engineers, architects and concerned citizens to contribute to the construction of the new facility.
Participants in the event included the Rev. Marshall Blalock of First Baptist Church of Charleston, Mrs. Charleston 2013 Kristen Hopson, Chip Naramore of RS Custom Homes, the builder of the new center, Nick Jaksa of Habitat for Humanity, who has provided numerous volunteers for painting and construction, Richard LaHue, LOR’s resident handyman, LOR’s board of directors and Dr. Jim and Margie Freston of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
According to LOR Board chairwoman, Clara Heinsohn, the new facility, funded entirely by private donations, will improve efficiency, increase storage space, be a safer place to work, and enable LOR to serve many more abused children each year, which will have a residual positive impact on the community as a whole. Heinsohn, also director of public affairs and volunteers at Charleston School District has direct experience with LOR’s impact in schools. “LOR now supplies 28 Title I schools in the area. We can’t expect children to focus on school work when they are without basic necessities like shoes, clothes and personal hygiene supplies. Lowcountry Orphan Relief is invaluable to us in helping meet these basic needs, and this new facility will bring help to many more in need as we continue to struggle in this tough economy.”
Board member Les Detterbeck explained his involvement with LOR. “I am inspired by the efforts of Lynn Young and her band of volunteers as they struggle to help the many children in desperate situations. They meet a unique need in our communities, and the scope of their reach is amazing, especially given their meager resources. When filling orders, volunteers often enclose a personal note of love, hope and encouragement. It’s more to them and the children than just supplies. How can you not want to help?” He added, “The reality of this distribution center is another testament to the determination of Lynn and her volunteers to do even more to help children who have been abandoned, abused and neglected—their service is an inspiration”
The mission of Lowcountry Orphan Relief is to provide services and aid to meet the needs of abandoned, abused and neglected children in the Lowcountry and specifically intervene where government aid ends. For more information about how you can help, please contact Lowcountry Orphan Relief at www.lowcountryorphanrelief.org or phone: 843-747-4099