marie michelle foundation
2037 lst avenue apt 2
newyork, ny 10029
To: Someone who may care to help!
For the last five years, I and our board have done everything possible to raise funds for the very poor kids in Georgetown County, South Carolina. But the demand has become overwhelming and we just are not able to help some of these kids, particularly those with medical conditions. The following best describes us, how we operate, our clients and the problem at hand.
Founded in December 2007 by Pawleys Island business men and women and concerned residents, St. Christopher’s Children, a non-sectarian organization, has sought to fill a void in the community social service network. It has since responded to more than 1400 assistance requests and delivered services valued at more than $500,000 to the very poor children in Georgetown County. The demand in 2012 has increased 30% over the previous year but, unfortunately, funding has not kept up with the demand
St. Christopher’s is usually the last resort for assistance and currently only provides services in Georgetown County. The aid is primarily in providing clothing and limited medical care for children in a family crisis when other agencies cannot fulfill a critical need. Recipients are referred through an approved social service network of partners who vet requests to avoid duplication and verify the requested assistance. Approved partners throughout Georgetown County include the Department of Social Services, helping children coming into foster care. School Nurses and Guidance Counselors in all 18 schools are a very important part of the network as they encounter situations of needy children. They also receive referrals from local medical professionals. Guidance counselors and school teachers recognize problems in class rooms and refer them to school nurses. Parents or legal guardians are always asked for permission before clothing and medical assistance is provided.
Other partners include The Family Justice Center of Georgetown County that serves as a referral point in distressed family situations while Healthy Learners cooperates by referring cases excluded from their service charter. St. Christopher’s helps Birthright of Georgetown County to assists school age girls who have babies, hoping to keep the young mothers in school through graduation. Until recently CASA was a partner agency where some clothing was kept for incoming children. Other cooperating social service partners are AMI Kids, Teach My People and Georgetown County Youth Services. .
The primary focus has been to provide desperately needed clothing for children. For most children, it is the first time that they have ever had new clothing or underwear. Most wear hand-me-downs that don’t fit or are raggedy resulting in humiliation when interacting with other children. Some have come with masking tape holding shoes together or with the tip removed to make room for growing feet. They are all St. Christopher’s Children.
But the need extends far beyond a new set of jeans, a clean shirt and a pair of sneakers. There are many that require medical assistance not covered by Medicaid or other insurance programs. It may be for care for pre-school children or replacement of broken eye glasses, medicine before Medicaid eligibility is established, and special dental care, especially orthodontic appliances, again not covered by Medicaid. These children have severe medical conditions that affect speech and the ability to chew food. They are children whose conditions have gone unattended following dental examinations as parents could not afford to help them. Some have deformities in their oral cavities and gums. Some have had teeth that have grown sideward in the gums and many are in constant pain when trying to chew. Guidance counselors and nurses see youngsters who refused to come to school or to take the school bus due to the hazing because of severe buck teeth or other deformities. St. Christopher’s has sent 76 of the worse cases for corrective treatment to date, but there is a list of at least 30 others waiting for funding. Additional requests arrive weekly.
St. Christopher’s Children receives no federal, state or local government funding and is supported by local churches, social service clubs and generous individuals. Local foundations and businesses also provide some assistance.
There is something very special about St. Christopher’s Children. It is entirely staffed and operated by volunteers, who pay for their own fuel when shopping and delivering bundles of clothing to partner agencies throughout the county. Except where medical releases are required, staff members never see the children, never know their names or photograph them and are forbidden to speak to them….one exception. A little girl insisted that the school nurse call to let her speak to and thank the lady who approved the purchase of clothing she received …. Cards with thanks from both parents and children are received and read at monthly board meetings, in a special moment of reflection on the mission undertaken.
Donations are acknowledged as received by one of St. Christopher’s volunteers. Some are memorial donations, others are to acknowledge successful graduations anniversaries or birthdays. But most are from people who deeply care and want to help. Information on how to donate online is available through the web site: www.stchristopherschildren.org At donors requests restrictions may be placed on donations for special purposes, such as dental care or clothing. Those funds are only dispensed for their intended purpose.
St. Christopher’s Children is a non-denominational 501(c)3 tax exempt corporation. Financial statements are reviewed annually by a local CPA firm and are available on request. Annual reports may be viewed online through the Secretary of State’s Web Site dedicated to public charities.
Donations may be mailed to:
ST. CHRISTOPHER’S CHILDREN, INC.
P.O. BOX 749,
PAWLEYS ISLAND, SC 29585
Robert Pelletier, President
44 Hamby Drive
Pawleys Island, SC 29585