Change from Spare Change

Daniel Island-based “Change for Haiti” charity group raises $20,000 for non-profit Water Mission

“What are they trying to do?”

Water Mission volunteer tour guide K.C. Lombard posed this question to a group of children, chaperones, and parents from Daniel Island’s St. Clare of Assisi during a tour the group took of the organization’s operations facility in North Charleston last Friday.

“Well, they’re just trying to stay alive,” he continued. “And what are we trying to do? We’re trying to…?”

“Help!” shouted the half-dozen youngsters in attendance. And help they did.

The group from St. Clare of Assisi wasn’t there just to tour the facility after all. They were also there to present a $20,000 check to the non-profit organization, money they’d raised as part of the group’s “Change for Haiti” program on Daniel Island. The group started Change for Haiti in the wake of Hurricane Matthew, which carved a swath of destruction across the southern and western portions of the impoverished, island nation.

The program was simple enough. Representatives from the group placed large, empty water jugs at participating Daniel Island businesses and simply asked island residents to drop their spare change in one of the containers when they could. The group had an ambitious goal of supplying non-profit partner Water Mission, which has redoubled its efforts in Haiti after Matthew, with a single water treatment unit.

The machine costs approximately $20,000 but can supply up to 4,000 people with clean, safe drinking water for two decades. Last Friday, when they showed up at the non-profit’s North Charleston operations center to hand over their check, they were beaming, as they’d raised (with help from the Daniel Island Rotary and the Daniel Island Community Foundation) exactly that amount.

“We are so excited to have achieved our $10,000 goal resulting in a total $20,000 donation,” said Carina Buckman, a volunteer with St. Clare of Assisi and with her friend and service project partner Amy Dietrich, the force behind Change for Haiti. “It’s been a true community effort.”

For evidence of that fact, look no further than how the group got to their goal: money flowed in from all over Daniel Island. The group took in $3,600 in check donations, (including $2,500 from the Daniel Island Community Foundation Employee Fund), $2,122 in paper money, $1,768 in coins, and $196 in online donations. To make up the rest, the Daniel Island Rotary contributed the remaining $2,313.26 needed to get the number up to $10,000, which was then matched by the Daniel Island Community Foundation.

“I am so grateful that Amy Dietrich and Jane Baker (of the Daniel Island Property Owners’ Association) were so encouraging and supportive of the initial idea, that Daniel Island businesses, churches and schools were so willing to assist, and that our community showed up with their pennies and so much more,” continued the British-born Buckman, glowing of her adopted home town.

And Baker, for her own part, was glowing right back at Buckman, in comments she offered up to The Daniel Island News in an interview.

“Carina Buckman and the other residents that she works with are passionate residents who have a true mind and spirit for philanthropy, locally and globally and this was a no-brainer for us,” said Baker. “There are so many relief organizations within the United States, within the southeast, but Water Mission has such a specific mission that is so critical to sustaining life…They are a class act of an organization.”

“It’s great to see what they do,” added Buckman, after her group finished up their tour.

For Water Mission, the cost of the assessment, manufacturing, transportation, set-up, and support of a new filtration system is about $20,000. With the newly donated “Change for Haiti” funds, Daniel Island has enabled the organization to help 4,000 people get fresh water for up to two decades.

And of all the reasons Carina Buckman and Amy Dietrich had to smile last Friday afternoon, that was perhaps the driving reason that Daniel Island’s efforts were going to have a tangible, positive change on people who need help.

“We’re proud of Daniel Island,” said Buckman succinctly before shuttling her children, Cat and Olivia, off to martial arts class. “They did a great job.”

 

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