By Shirley Salvo for The Island Connection
The Sea Islands Hunger Awareness Foundation (SIHAF) will be presenting its Fourth Annual Gullah Celebration at Freshfields Village on Saturday, May 19 from 3-6 p.m. Festivities will include music, a large silent auction, craft vendors, a children’s art show, and Gullah food as well as wine, beer and tea. The Deninufray African Dance and Drum Production will entertain at 3:30 p.m. and the Low Country Voices will perform at 4:30 p.m.
The proceeds from this event are the major source of funding for the Foundation’s Sea Islands Blessing Basket food distribution program, quarterly fresh produce giveaways, and the Water Wellness Mission. SIHAF also provides financial support for seven other partner organizations, which help feed needy children, low income families and elderly individuals on Johns and Wadmalaw islands.
This year’s Gullah Celebration is dedicated to Donna Mundy, former board member and enthusiastic supporter of SIHAF, who passed away in March of this year. Donna was a dedicated and widely honored educator, a skilled consultant who provided pro-bono services to many non-profit groups, and one of the guiding forces behind the formation of SIHAF and the growth of its various activities.
The Blessing Basket program currently provides canned goods and other food staples, as well as bread, meat and fresh produce, to almost 250 individual clients each month to help supplement their diet. SIHAF must raise over $40,000 a year to fund this effort alone. The Blessing Basket has added about 45 new clients just in the past two months and the number of recipients is expected to increase throughout 2018.
The Water Wellness Mission offers new wells and filtration systems to families who have been living without clean, running water in their homes. Since the program started in the spring of 2016, 15 wells have been installed at no cost to the families. The average cost to dig a well and install a filtration system is $5,000.
Right now there are 26 families on the waiting list.
In addition to these programs, SIHAF offers financial support to Backpack Buddies of Seabrook, Fields to Families, the Hebron Zion Presbyterian Church Emergency Food Bank, Meals on Wheels of Charleston (delivering meals to residents of Wadmalaw and Johns Islands), the Rockville Presbyterian Church Meals on Monday, Sweetgrass Garden and the Wesley United Methodist Temple Take Out Ministry.
Tickets for the Gullah Celebration can be purchased in advance at the SIHAF website, FightIslandHunger.org, where additional details are available, including information about sponsorships, auction donations and other support opportunities. Tickets are available at Indigo Books will also be available on site on May 19.