Close friends Hartley and Scarafile began The Charleston Basket Brigade in 2008 with a commitment to bring the community together to provide Thanksgiving meals for families in need in Charleston. “It’s unbelievable how many children go to bed hungry right here in our community,” said Hartley. “Over the past three years, we’ve heard countless stories from our meal recipients and partners that if it weren’t for our efforts, these families would not have been able to serve a hot Thanksgiving meal,” added Scarafile.
Carolina One staffers, agents and event volunteers raise money, assemble the meals at pre-set staging areas and deliver meals to the families. Communities In Schools, a non-profit dropout prevention organization with 27 counselors in 18 schools throughout Charleston and Berkeley County, locates the families that will receive meals based on need and maps out directions for delivery. Piggly Wiggly provides discounts on food, boxes, and delivers food to the preset staging area for assembly and delivery. Momentum Marketing (Hartley’s company) provides public relations, marketing, fundraising and event coordination assistance.
2011 promises to be a record year for the brigade. The North Charleston Coliseum (with the support of the Mayor’s office) is donating 25,000 sq. ft. of space to serve as a central staging area for assembly and delivery on November 22. Sixteen prominent local businesses will be collecting “Change for Change” at their cash registers October 10 through November 11. Several fundraisers are also pending to benefit the group.
“It only takes $30 to feed a family of 4-6 at Thanksgiving and every single penny we collect goes toward buying food,” said Scarafile. Hartley interjected, “And this year, we’ve got such a diverse fundraising structure to enable anyone in this community to contribute in one way or another.”
The meal includes a 10-12 lb. turkey, stuffing, potatoes, gravy, corn, green beans, sweet potatoes with marshmallows, cranberry sauce, a pumpkin pie, fresh rolls and butter. Each family receives an anonymous letter inside the basket 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.”
Each assembled meal costs $30.00. Individual and corporate donations can be made online at www.charlestonbasketbrigade.com. All major credit cards are accepted and 100% of the donations go towards buying food. Donations and volunteers are needed. For more information, visit www.charlestonbasketbrigade.com.