Charleston, SC November 14, 2011 - Michelle Scarafile and Pam Hartley, co-founders of The Charleston Basket Brigade (CBB), announced today that the 4th Annual Charleston Basket Brigade is in its final week to raise a record $75,000 to feed 15,000 residents in need throughout the Charleston tri-county area. The event will take place on Tuesday, November 22, 2011 at the North Charleston Coliseum campus (Charleston Area Convention Center, Exhibit Hall C) beginning at 7 a.m. The duo is partnering with Carolina One Real Estate, Piggly Wiggly, Communities In Schools and Momentum Marketing to feed 2,500 families (an estimated 15,000 people) on Thanksgiving Day by raising $75,000 through the efforts of hundreds of local volunteers and concerned citizens. In the past three years, the Charleston Basket Brigade has raised a total of $63,990 and fed more than 12,000 local residents in need.
In the past several weeks, the CBB has participated in several local events to raise money. As a beneficiary of Daniel Island Park Day on October 22, Brigade volunteers earned $1,220 in proceeds from the jump castles at the event. On November 5, the Brigade collected donations from the Towne Centre Tobacco and Wine Anniversary Wine Tasting event, which yielded more than $600.00 for the organization.
Additional assistance in fundraising has been initiated from concerned citizens throughout the community. JKI Karate on Daniel Island created a turkey coloring fundraiser for the month of November. Kimberly Allen and Brent Dameron, employees of Benefitfocus based on Daniel Island, started a company-wide effort to feed 450 families for the Brigade. Alisa McLean of Scientific Research Corporation in North Charleston organized a lunch and bake sale to raise money. Meryl Cromarty of Daniel Island Real Estate raised $1,000 from fellow real estate agents and the company fundraising program. Michael and Cori Smith of Daniel Island and their three young sons raised $100 from baking cupcakes and brownies.
“We have received an outpouring of community members creating their own fundraising initiatives,” said Hartley. “It warms our hearts to see so many people committed to making Thanksgiving memories for families in need. We are so appreciative for every single donation and couldn’t make this happen without the help of this altruistic community.”
On Friday, the Brigade received an unexpected call from Christopher Ibsen of Piggly Wiggly Carolina with news that the company is donating $10,000 in food to help the group reach their goal. Scarafile said, “This is the single largest donation we’ve ever received and we feel so blessed to have Piggly Wiggly as our food partner. They already contribute so much and this is over the top!”
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 the Charleston area. 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 (CIS), 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. With the help of numerous partner organizations, CIS has arranged for Dorchester families to be served this year as well. Piggly Wiggly provides discounts on food, donates boxes, and delivers food to the Coliseum for assembly and delivery. Momentum Marketing (Hartley’s company) provides public relations, marketing, fundraising and event coordination assistance.
“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.