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Neighbors helping neighbors: Bluffton Self Help improves lives of thousands of households

Written By: Team CMC

Bluffton Self Help was founded on the premise of neighbors helping neighbors. More than 35 years ago, the organization's founder, Ida Martin, visited a single mom of five kids living close by. She found a family without enough food in the house and provided groceries. Knowing this family was not the only one in need, she sought out the help of other neighbors and stockpiled resources like groceries and clothing in her garage available to anyone in the community.

Since then, Bluffton Self Help has blossomed into a network of programs designed to help community members achieve economic self-sufficiency. The nonprofit provides basic needs, financial support, education and training, and guided access to a network of community resources in Bluffton, SC, and the surrounding area.

"If we help people pay for their groceries, that's $400 they can allocate somewhere else," says Courtney Hampson, CEO of Bluffton Self Help. "Success doesn't happen on your own. We're cheerleaders, we build trust and we help people with their problems layer by layer. We're in it for the long haul."

In 2023, the organization served 1,830 unique households, provided 479,001 pounds of groceries, gave $132,064 in emergency financial assistance, and invested $644,400 on education, training, and career development, in addition to a host of other programs it supported.

Bluffton Self Help aims to be a trusted resource for neighbors in vulnerable situations, providing better opportunities and options. In a community where 60 percent of the population does not earn a living wage while working one or more jobs, one flat tire can cause utter chaos.

The non-profit helps with basic needs, but also provides access to unique programs like "Getting Ahead In a Just-Gettin'-By World." During the 16-week workshop, participants meet over a meal to discuss life experiences, explore community issues, share goals, and build connections. In just one example of the program's positive influence, a participant was encouraged to apply for a part-time job by another member who saw her potential. It turned into full time employment with benefits.

Bluffton Self Help's network includes more than 300 volunteers who donated over 20,000 hours of their time in 2023, dozens of workforce development partnerships with local businesses, and a dedicated group of organizations who help with a multitude of issues.

"The support has been incredibly uplifting, to the point where I wake up in high spirits, ready to face the day with enthusiasm," says a Getting Ahead participant. "Even though I am physically and mentally tired, I feel that I have a sharper focus and a deeper sense of purpose."

To learn more about Bluffton Self Help, go to https://blufftonselfhelp.org/.


About Cingo: The name Cingo means to surround and secure, conveying the company's commitment to home protection. The company has been protecting families in the Southeast since 1974. It provides home protection services throughout Georgia and South Carolina, including Atlanta, Augusta, Charleston, Douglas, Dublin, Milledgeville, Savannah, Vidalia, Waycross and all points in between. Cingo was named a Best Place to Work in Georgia by Georgia Trend Magazine and listed as a National Best & Brightest Company to Work For. Learn more at www.cingohome.com.