Basket Brigade hopes to feed 20,000 residents this Thanksgiving

  • Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Volunteers will assemble boxes full of Thanksgiving meals to send out to needy families all over Charleston. PHOTO PROVIDED

Michelle Scarafile and Pam Hartley, co-founders of the Charleston Basket Brigade (CBB), announced that the CBB as partnered with Bi-Lo and set a goal to raise $100,000 to feed 20,000 residents in need (approximately 3,000 families) this year for Thanksgiving. The sixth annual Charleston Basket Brigade will take place on Tuesday, Nov. 26 at the Charleston Area Convention Center, Exhibit Hall A beginning at 7 a.m.

From now until Nov. 26, the CBB is raising funds, and 100 percent of donations go toward purchasing food. On Nov. 26 hundreds of volunteers will gather to assemble and hand deliver meals to each benefitting family. In the past five years, the Charleston Basket Brigade has raised a total of $238,000 and fed more than 47,000 local residents in need. To successfully execute the effort, the CBB partners with Carolina One Real Estate, Communities in Schools, Momentum Marketing and Bi-Lo.

CBB co-founders were thrilled that Bi-Lo agreed to become a partner in this year’s brigade effort following the recent acquisition of local Piggly Wiggly stores.

Scarafile said, “We worked with Piggly Wiggly for the past four years. They were such a generous partner. When news hit of Bi-Lo’s recent acquisition of Piggly Wiggly stores in the area, we reached out to them and they quickly stepped in to support our cause.”

Hartley added, “The Bi-Lo partnership is such a crucial part of this effort and we were ecstatic they agreed to jump on board. They have been so enthusiastic, organized and accommodating. It is evidence that Bi-Lo supports our community and local citizens in need.”

It only takes $30 to feed a family of six to eight and every dollar raised is utilized to purchase food. Each family receives a box of food to cook an entire Thanksgiving meal including a 10-12 lb. turkey, gravy, cranberry sauce, stuffing, potatoes, corn, green beans, sweet potatoes with marshmallows, a pumpkin pie, fresh rolls and butter. Inside the box is an anonymous letter that reads, “This comes to you from someone who cares about you. All we ask is that you take care of yourself well enough to be able to do this for someone else one day.”

As a new partner of the CBB this year, Bi-Lo has pledged a $10,000 food credit, a 10 percent overall discount on food, 3,000 food delivery boxes and food shipping costs from a distribution center to the staging area for assembly and delivery. Momentum Marketing (Hartley’s company) provides public relations, marketing, fundraising and event coordination assistance. For the third year in a row, The Charleston Area Convention Center (with the support of the Mayor Summey’s office) is donating 25,000 square feet of space to serve as a central staging area for assembly and delivery on Nov. 26.

Hundreds of community volunteers and Carolina One agents and staffers raise money, assemble the meals at the Convention Center and deliver meals to the families. Communities In Schools, an award winning non-profit dropout prevention organization with 41 staff members that serve thousands of students (92 percent from low-income families) in 30 schools throughout Charleston and Berkeley Counties, locates the families who will receive meals based on need and maps out directions for delivery. 

“It takes a large community effort to raise $100,000 and assemble and deliver these meals,” said Hartley. Scarafile interjected, “We encourage everyone to get involved: families, children, classrooms, businesses. Whether it is gathering change at your workplace or raising money at a bake sale, every last cent helps feed our neighbors that are in need.”

Within the past month, Gwynn’s of Mount Pleasant and The Wrenn Group, both locally owned businesses, have signed on as 2013 corporate sponsors and have made substantial donations to the CBB.

Trident United Way’s Women’s Leadership Council has declared the Charleston Basket Brigade as the council’s Friends & Family Day of Service. The council is leading the effort to assemble boxes on Monday before the brigade, as well as assembling and delivering meals on Nov. 26.

Women’s Leadership Council Steering Committee vice chair Cindi Solomon added, “In our community, roughly half of working families and the elderly choose between buying food and paying their utilities. We are excited to have an opportunity for our members and their families to partner with the Charleston Basket Brigade to help provide Thanksgiving meals to those in our community who live with this constant struggle and who otherwise would not be able to enjoy a holiday so many of us take for granted.”  

“Our heartfelt thanks go out to Marshall Simon and Ray Wrenn for becoming corporate sponsors this year. Their contributions will go a long way towards helping us reach our fundraising goal,” said Hartley.

The CBB is a 501-(c)(3) nonprofit. Individual and corporate donations are tax deductible can be made online at www.CharlestonBasketBrigade.com. All major credit cards are accepted and 100% of the donations go towards buying food. To learn how to donate and volunteer, visit www.CharlestonBasketBrigade.com.

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