It’s all about helping the kids

by | August 2, 2018 8:19 am

“I knew something had to be done. The boy was in the third grade at the school where I was a volunteer. He refused to get up from his desk at lunchtime. Wouldn’t budge. His teacher asked me to help. When I finally coaxed him to stand, his pants fell to his ankles. They were a men’s size #34; and they were all he had to wear.” Jim Frye told this story Saturday at Aimwell Presbyterian Church in Neyles. He and Dr. Tammy Carter began Hands of Christ in 2003. The program provides two free school uniforms, other clothing, grade-related school supplies, books and food for ages 3K-8th grade. “The first year, we bought clothes for 200 children. When we opened the doors, the line of people waiting stretched for three blocks. I knew we were on to something,” Frye said. “We will serve 250 families this morning,” said Lesley Holmes, the program’s coordinator at Aimwell Church. “We have about 75 volunteers helping this morning, including 17 from churches in Pennsylvania.” Pastor Leah Miller of Anchor Presbyterian Church in Wrightsville, Pa., brings a youth group to South Carolina every summer. “We stay a week and help hand out clothes. We love being able to serve in this way,” Miller said. She discovered the program from members of her church who spend half of each year in South Carolina, the rest in Pennsylvania. “Our kids love it. We have a waiting list to come,” she said. “This is a way for our members to give back, serve and praise God,” said Aimwell’s Pastor Perry Griffin. “We have been part of the program for five years.” In 2018, Hands of Christ will serve 5,700 families at 18 sites. “We continue to grow each year,” said Dr. Carter. “In addition to the clothes we distribute, we began the program as a way to build bridges between churches. This year we will expand the program to Clinton in Laurens County.” “It takes about $35 to serve each child,” said Frye. It’s easy to do the math. “We’re spending about $175,000 this year, most of it raised by individual churches. We have some corporate sponsors, but, honestly, our churches and volunteers give most of the money. Once people come see these children and their smiles, they want to give. We will serve 500-600 children in Colleton County.” Hands of Christ will be at Bethel Presbyterian Church on Saturday Aug. 4. Doors open at 10 a.m. Mayor Bill Young is one of the volunteers. “Bethel has participated in Hands of Christ for a number of years. Lenore Hickman, Martha Johnson, Brooke Parker and many other volunteers have done an outstanding job organizing the event, Young said. “It is so rewarding to be able to see the good that this does in our own community. Several hundred children will benefit from this program, as will all those who volunteer. We feel very fortunate to be able to help with the Hands of Christ event.” “One more story,” said Frye. “Several years ago, we served a little girl. After picking out her outfits, she came to me; said she wanted to pay for her clothes. I held out my hand, she smiled and gave me all she had — 36 cents. It would not have meant more if it had been a million dollars.”

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