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In left photo, Rep. Shannon Erickson speaks as, from left, Port Royal Mayor Joe DeVito, Twingi Productions architect Jon Sojkowski and HELP of Beaufort Executive Director Lori Opozda look on at HELP’s groundbreaking ceremony Monday, Nov. 21 in Port Royal. Photos courtesy of SK Designs.

HELP of Beaufort breaks ground on new building

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From staff reports

HELP of Beaufort marked its “soon to be 50” year mark, with a groundbreaking ceremony Monday, Nov. 21 on their property at 1600 Ribaut Road in Port Royal.

In attendance were HELP volunteers, board members, grantors, Port Royal Mayor Joe DeVito, Rep. Shannon Erickson and Greg Brusnon from Brunson Construction.

This community’s new building will offer larger pantry and clothing areas, as well as a client Wellness Produce Garden, the first of its kind and much needed in the area. They will also be able to expand all current programs and add new ones in the near future.

Last year HELP assisted 11,370 clients with food between their in-house pantry, Mobile Pantry and Mobile Meals Programs and this number is only expected to increase.

Executive Director Lori Opozda thanked volunteers for all the countless hours they put in, inside and outside of HELP, and for keeping the organization running smoothly, serving all of the community needs. She also went on to thank all of the citizens, local businesses and churches for assisting with all their needs throughout the year.

Purchasing their property last spring, HELP kicked off and is still running a building campaign. Community outreach started right away with Twingi Productions stepping in and offering their architectural services for free, working hand-in-hand with the Town of Port Royal and Brunson Construction.

Brunson Construction is looking for local businesses to team up and get this build done with them – Built FOR the Community BY the Community.

Through fundraising efforts and the generosity of local businesses and donors, HELP has been able to secure funding to get through the first two phases of the build and needs community assistance to complete the build. The organization would like this to be a fully funded community project, and not have to obtain funding through a lender so future donations can go directly toward the needs of the community and not to pay interest on a loan.

The Wellness Produce Garden will not only be a source of food for the pantry, for clients it will also be able to teach them how to garden affordably at home, no matter where they live. Holding Cooking Matters classes through the Lowcountry Food Bank, they will also be able to teach clients how to cook different foods and make affordable, healthy meals for their families.

HELP also hopes to be a resource for area schools for field trips, on gardening and healthy eating education.

HELP is hosting its third annual toy drive this year. This could not be accomplished without the 35-plus businesses that assist with toy collections. Through their generosity, we are able to give families in need toys, clothing, shoes and wrapping paper for their children.

To make a donation to HELP for their building campaign, assist in any of their programs or volunteer you can visit their website at www.helpofbeaufort.org.

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