Lowcountry Dress for Success
Author: Lynnie Leavenworth
It all began with 244 polo shirts, 170 pairs of shorts, and 50 packs of underwear. “In the fall of 2013, we were doing a study that challenged us to do a community project of some sort with our small group through Lowcountry Community Church, our church in Bluffton,” said Erin Ussery, part of a team of founders of Lowcountry Dress for Success, a local 501c3 non-profit, bringing new school uniforms to local students. “A group member went to her daughter’s school and asked the social worker if there were any needs that someone wasn’t taking care of; she said uniforms.” The group decided to do something about it.
Over a three-week period in the spring of 2014, the group raised $3,000, and with that first delivery of new polos, shorts, and underwear, met the needs of Bluffton Elementary and Pritchardville Elementary. Building on their success, the group continued fundraising and, by the start of the 2014-2015 school year, were able to fill requests from all the elementary schools on Hilton Head Island and in Bluffton. “We realized this is a huge need in our area, so we thought, we’ll just keep going,” Ussery said.
Partnering with school social workers, the group has found that children were attending school in uniforms that were too tattered, dirty, or ill-fitting to ever feel successful in the classroom or beyond.
With uniforms required in all Beaufort County classrooms, schools have long lists of families that do not have the means to provide the mandatory clothing. “We are now helping in Bluffton Middle School, H.E. McCracken Middle School, and River Ridge Academy. We want to work into the high schools, and we would love to go north of the Broad and get into Jasper County,” Ussery said.
Enter TJ and Rachel Anderson, newer members of the non-profit group and owners of Atlantic Spray Foam, an environmentally-friendly residential and commercial insulation business. “I personally like seeing people succeed; that’s my joy,” TJ said. Putting words into action, the Andersons are making a special offer that benefits the non-profit and their customers. Book a new job with Atlantic Spray Foam and mention learning about the company from the May 2016 issue of CH2 or CB2 magazine, receive a $200 discount on the project, and Atlantic Spray Foam will donate $200 to Lowcountry Dress for Success.
The lowcountry Dress For Success team
“This hits home,” Anderson said. “Our kids are fortunate enough to have clothes on their backs. There are a lot of kids in Beaufort County alone that just don’t have that luxury.”
??Lowcountry Dress for Success accepts monetary donations by PayPal, credit card, check, or cash, and uses the funds to purchase new uniforms to meet the specific need requests submitted by local school social workers. The new clothing is delivered to the schools, where it is then distributed to the families.
For more information about Atlantic Spray Foam and their partnership program with Lowcountry Dress for Success, please visit atlanticsprayfoam.org or call (843) 441-6690.??
For more information about Lowcountry Dress for Success, to make a donation, or to purchase a “Bluffton Homegrown” tee to benefit the organization, please visit lowcountrydressforsuccess.org or call (843) 384-4464.