Aug 08 2018

Op-Ed: Sea Islands Hunger Awareness Foundation Lives Up To Its Name . . . And More

By Jim Bannister for the Island Connection

Sea Island Hunger Awareness Foundation’s Shirley Salvo with artist Joann Brown.

The Sea Islands Hunger Awareness Foundation. Nice name, right? Even impressive and inspiring. But many organizations with impressive names too often seem to fall short of their titles. Not this one. This organization is more than aware; it is DOING something about it by daily feeding of the hungry and providing clean water to those without it on Johns and Wadmalaw Islands.

July 13 presentation of checks to SIHAF partners and programs.

At its monthly board meeting held Friday, July 13 at the Johns Island Branch of the Charleston County Public Library, Foundation Chairman, Shirley Salvo, presented quarterly contribution checks with yearly amounts totaling $48,000 to the following Partner Organizations: Sweetgrass Garden, Meals on Wheels of Charleston, Hebron Zion Presbyterian Food Pantry, Hebron St. Francis Seniors, Wesley United Methodist Temple Take Out, Backpack Buddies of Seabrook Island, Fields to Families, Rockville Presbyterian Meals on Monday and St. James Bethel Food Pantry.

Board members and guests also enjoyed an entertaining and informative program on the GullahGeechee cultural art craft of basket weaving presented by Joann Brown, whose West African ancestry dates back hundreds of years to Boone Hall Plantation, where weavers made rice baskets and other essential items from locally grown sweetgrass, bulrush, palm leaves, and long needle pine.

My wife, Marlisa, and I were there and had the opportunity to meet Ms. Pat Cline, a member of the Board of Trustees of the St. John’s Constituent District 9 of the Charleston County School District, who is supportive of the organization.

The Hunger Awareness Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization operating 100% on donations and volunteers. Major programs, amounting to $44,000 annually are the Sea Islands Blessing Basket, Water Wellness, and Crock Pot Cooking Classes. The organization’s largest single source of income is from the very popular Gullah Celebration, which is held annually in May at Freshfields Village, however, individual contributions throughout the year are essential and fully tax-deductible.

For more information and gifting opportunities, visit

By the way, if you have never visited our Johns Island Branch Public Library, you really should. It is cool and completely free!

Jim Bannister is a former business owner in Columbus, Ohio and a full time resident of Kiawah and Junior Warden at Church of Our Saviour on Betsy Kerrison Parkway. He and his wife, Marlisa, are avid supporters of the Sea Island Hunger Awareness Foundation and its numerous partners, whose mission is providing food and water to many needy families on Johns and Wadmalaw Islands. Jim, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran, is also an active member of the Kiawah-Seabrook Exchange Club. He presents tributes honoring South Carolina’s Fallen Heroes to open the Club’s meetings, and also speaks at local schools on the topic of “Americanism” and the U.S. flag.

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