THE HISTORY OF HELP OF BEAUFORT AND HELP MOBILE MEALS
Help Mobile MealsIn February of 1973 the First Presbyterian Church of Beaufort, South Carlolina, had a week - long series of services called a Festival Of Faith. At its conclusion, the Women of the church organization felt led to initiate a project in the local area, where it’s members could have a “hands on” experience in their own neighborhood and serve Jesus Christ by serving others in His name.
By the time February 1st, 1974 arrived, a program had been developed called Meals On Wheels. The church had allocated funds for a limit of six meals to be delivered each weekday at noon to the elderly and disabled. The geographic limits would be Bay, Carteret, Ribaut, and Boundary Streets. With an exception made only if a member of their congregation was in need. Names were secured from Linda Lepionka at the Beaufort County Department of Social Services, interviews were conducted and selections were made by the chairman of the Meals On Wheels committee, Kitty Harley.
The first meals were prepared by the Jarvista restaurant (later named The Galley) located on Boundary Street, across from the Greyhound Bus Station. Later, the building burned and the property was then occupied by the Omega Mart. The beverages were all donated by Coburg Dairy, thanks to Joe Leland, a church member who was their employee. Volunteers from the church and it’s friends were secured for each day of the month – first Monday, fourth Friday, for example. The chairman would call to remind each one the night before, telling them of any changes or additions.
The Jarvista closed in December of 1976, and for the next two years the meals were prepared by the Brahma Burger on Port Republic Street. When they went out of business, contact was made with the Beaufort Memorial Hospital, Mr James Uzzel: Administrator, Mr. Joe Turner: Food Service, and Mrs. Abbie Rodgers: Dietician. With their help, for the first time, each client could now receive an individualized diet, as recommended by their doctor. This began in September of 1978. Kitty Harley retired after twelve years of service, and in the next year (1986 – 1987) Ginny Elliott and then Frances Jenkins headed up the program.
In March of 1987, when needs were becoming greater than could be handled by the church volunteers, we joined hands with HELP Mobile Meals, led by Maxine Dunnett. Up to that point, 97 volunteers had delivered 17,618 meals, with the church providing $30,000 to cover the costs. The First Presbyterian Church still has HELP Mobile Meals in its yearly budget and some of the original volunteers from 1974 are still delivering: Marie Peatross, Becky Trask, Kitty Harley, and Margaret and Ed Webb.