Fort Mill Care Center an ‘angel’ among charitable organizations

joverman@fortmilltimes.comNovember 20, 2013 

— The Fort Mill Care Center was recognized Wednesday as an Angel on the 2013 Scrooges and Angels list released by S.C. Secretary of State Mark Hammond.

Ten charitable organizations, including the Care Center, were recognized as “Angels” for meeting criteria including using 80 percent or more of its revenue to meet its goals, having strong volunteer programs, and receiving minimal grant funding.

“We were really excited to be one of 10 in the state and the only one in this area,” Care Center Director Carol Higgins said.

The Care Center spends 97.6 percent of its income – mostly private donations – on program services, according to Hammond’s office. Higgins said that percentage might be slightly lower next year, now that the Care Center has moved to a new facility and has to pay rent. Previously, the center operated rent and utility-free in space owned by the Fort Mill School District.

Even with the added expenses, the Care Center manages to keep its overhead below 10 percent, Higgins said.

The Secretary of State’s office was impressed that the Care Center is an all volunteer-run organization, Higgins said. There are no paid employees at the Care Center, which has served Fort Mill Township – including Indian Land – for nearly 25 years. Residents in need can get food from the center’s pantry and help paying for certain living expenses, such as utility bills and prescriptions, among other services.

“All of these organizations have good ratings, but they were most impressed that no one in our group gets paid,” Higgins said.

In October, the Care Center distributed more than 11,000 pounds of food to clients, more than $14,000 in utility assistance, $2,205 in prescription drug assistance, and $1,119 for other medical assistance. Volunteers worked 539 hours in October.

Volunteers are what help the Care Center succeed and continue to assist the people of Fort Mill year after year, Higgins said.

“It’s the devotion of the volunteers, no question about it. Loyal, long term volunteers,” Higgins said.

The timing of the Angel award couldn’t be better, Higgins said, as Care Center volunteers prepare to kick off a capital campaign to finance a new building. Right now, the center rents space on Tom Hall Street. The space isn’t large enough to support a large food pantry and a search of existing real estate turned up nothing viable, Higgins said.

“The only solution to have the services we want is to build our own building,” Higgins said. “This is beautiful timing, that the state acknowledges us. We will start capital campaigning as soon as we get our ducks in order.”

The Secretary of State also designated Scrooges, charitable groups that spent a low percentage of their total expenses on charitable programs. Included among the scrooges were two South Carolina organizations, Gaffney Elks Lodge BPOE 1305 and Louis D. Simmons American Legion Post 215.

Jenny Overman •  803-547-2353

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