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Welcome to the next installment in our “Who Gives a Chip?” series, which celebrates the everyday heroes in our community.  This month, we spoke with Christine & Debbie, who are both amazing members of their community in South Carolina. Their passion, and commitment to ‘giving a chip,’ inspires us, and we hope it will do the same for you. We sat down with them to learn a bit more about how they Give a Chip.

Can you tell us more about the challenges in your community?

Christine: The biggest challenge in our community is lack of resources. We have very little help. Unless you’re a 501c3 and people can receive a write off, many people are not willing to donate.

Debbie: That’s true. As a charity organization, in order to receive any donations or funds from corporate groups, we are required to have a 501c3. Unfortunately, this process costs money. That’s why we have started to use Facebook to run pages and groups to bring people together who are willing to give back to the community. Some of our members are in need themselves, but take money from their own pockets to help another less fortunate.

What are some ways you have gotten involved to give back to your community?

Christine: I’ve done several Christmas drives that donate clothes, toys, and goods for families. Trying to get homeless veterans hot meals, warm clothes, and blankets. I most recently teamed up with Debbie at Neighbors Helping Neighbors and went to different communities to donate for the flood victims who lost basically everything they own.

Debbie: That’s right! Neighbors Helping Neighbors gathered clothes, food, and household items. We also team up with Christine’s Facebook group, Everything’s Free in Horry County, so that we could borrow a truck and trailer. Then we went to Nichols, South Carolina and handed these items out to anyone that stopped. We did the same in Conway.

Are there any new programs or events coming up you would like to share with our readers?

Debbie: We are accepting donations of new or very gently used toys for kids 0-18 years for Christmas. Without the help of others in our community, there will be many hungry mouths and disappointed children in Horry County this holiday season.

Christine: Right now, the most important thing to me is trying to get Christmas for as many kids as possible.

What is the hardest part of what you do?

Christine: Having to tell people we are out of food then wondering all night if their family got to eat. Some nights I can’t stop thinking about it. It’s usually my last thought of the day that if we only had a little bit more to give.

Debbie: The hardest part for me doing this work is having to turn people away. It breaks my heart when I have to say no.

What makes it all worth it to you?

Christine: To see the smile on someone’s face & knowing that because I’m a small part of it, they received what they needed. It wouldn’t be possible without the effort of many.

Debbie: The smiles in people’s faces when we are able to help.

What would you tell someone else who is looking to make a difference in their community?

Debbie: The most important thing I would tell people who want to do this, is have an open heart and a closed mind. If you overthink the needs, you will question what it is you need to do. If you open your heart, God will show you the way.

Christine: To always do what’s right by others. To know that you may not be able to help every person but think about the ones you did.

What is the best way for others to get involved?

Christine: Just do one act of kindness every day. Even if it’s as simple as opening a door, an encouraging smile. However small the act may seem to you, it can mean the world to the other person.

Debbie: The community needs to remember that we do this out of the goodness of our hearts. There is no monetary gain, only the feeling of joy when you know in your heart that what you are doing is right. Be kind to one another; don’t put each other down. You never know what the other person is going through in their life.

If you are in the South Carolina area and looking to help, learn more about Everything’s Free Horry County and Neighbors Helping Neighbors. How will you be getting involved in your local community?