Laura Roddey started down the philanthropy path very early

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It’s not many 11-year olds who spend their summer raising money for a favorite charity, but that’s exactly what Beaufort native and Wofford College sophomore Laura Roddey did when she was 11. In the summer of 2006, Laura began selling t-shirts to support Little Red Dog Foundation, which her neighbor, Anne Guthrie, started in 2005. Handling promotion, sales, collections and delivery herself, Laura raised about $700 for Little Red Dog, which provides specially equipped three-wheeled cycles for people who are mobility challenged.

Laura Roddey and her brother, Thomas
Laura Roddey and her brother, Thomas

Fast forward to Christmas 2011. Laura and her brother Thomas, 17, who’s now a junior at Beaufort Academy, made a meat rub to give to family and friends as holiday gifts. The rub proved very popular and Laura and Thomas hatched a plan to sell the rub through a new company – Sea Island Seasonings – and donate 100 percent of net profits to charity. With help from parents Tim and Emma, Sea Island Seasonings was soon up and running.

“With Sea Island Seasonings, Thomas and I have provided financial assistance for some of our favorite charities that have helped so many people near and far,” Laura says. “We’ve come to realize that nothing makes our efforts more worthwhile than seeing the smiles of people we get to help. Whether we’re under the same roof or 200 miles away, Thomas and I stick together to help change the lives of those we’ve never met.”

Laura is chief executive officer of Sea Island Seasonings and Thomas is production manager. While she’s at college, Laura handles web design and public relations while Thomas is in charge of production. Both work on sales because, as Laura says, “Sales is a constant job!”

Sea Island Seasonings annually donates to the Little Red Dog Foundation and HELP of Beaufort, and recently donated to the Hope Center for Children in Spartanburg, Prevent Child Abuse America and the Military Heroes Campaign.

“Sea Island Seasonings has given me a wonderful opportunity to meet some incredible people from all around this country and Canada,” says Laura. “The reactions of pleased costumers are incredible and surprising.”

Sea Island Seasonings was recently chosen as one of ten student-run companies to go to the finals of Wolford College’s Impact & Launch Competition. Laura and the other finalists will compete in a head-to-head competition at the end of March for a share of $10,000 in cash and $10,000 worth of professional services.

Asked about the future, the not-yet-20-year old says, “As far as what the future holds, that is a loaded question! I plan on graduating from Wofford College in 2017, and from there I just can’t tell you where I will be. I love Sea Island Seasonings and hope that it will continue to grow. But five years ago I would not have been able to tell you I would be a sophomore in college competing for $10,000 in cash and prizes for a business that, five years ago, didn’t even exist! So for now I’m enjoying the ride.”  Interested?  Check out their website at:  http://seaislandseasonings.wix.com/seaislandseasonings.