Jammin the Creek

$475 of $20,000 goal

Raised by 5 people in 28 days
I practically grew up in an American Legion.  My parents divorced when I was about 12 and my Mom took a night job tending bar at the local Post to try and make ends meet.  Everyone was always friendly and supportive.  They watched me go from dance recitals to graduation and  marriage to a Navy man.  The military brought us to South Carolina some 30 years ago and after switching careers a few times, and raising my 2 boys, I found myself applying for a job one day a week tending bar at the local American Legion.  Fast forward 5 years and I am now managing  Post 166 in Goose Creek, SC and loving every minute of it!

We are the 2nd largest Post in the state, with 1200+ members.  On average, we lose 3 per month as age or illness takes it's toll.   For the members who are able to frequent the Post, we provide nightly meals they can afford on fixed incomes, all prepared by volunteers.  Our service officer provides assistance to all who need help in obtaining their veteran benefits and/or filing claims.  We have been known to provide funds for utilities and rent/mortgage payments, help with moving, yard care, repairs, gas money, medical equipment and even rides to and from doctor's appointments.  

We visit the local VA Hospital twice a month and spend time with Veteran patients, providing them with conversation, personal hygiene items, cookies, bananas and soft drinks.  In an average visit, we spend time with as many as 75-80 patients.

And when one of our Veterans reports to the highest commander, we offer our facility as a gathering place to pay respects to their loved one if needed.  Our Honor Guard, comprised of volunteers, provide honor services when requested and our ladies Auxiliary donate food and baked goods for the Memorial services.

In addition to helping our local Veterans, we support many local youth programs such as Legion Baseball, Oratorical Contestant Sponsorship and Boys and Girls State.  Each year we send 10-12 boys and girls to our state capital where they study and learn the Constitution and form and run a mock government.  Many of these youth go on to pursue a military career.   We recycle cans to provide our local ROTC and JROTC with awards and certificates for achievements.   We host a Spring Dance each year for the local special needs youth.  

We work in conjunction with the local juvenile justice department and offer a location for young people to serve community service in a pre-trial intervention program.  Many come back to volunteer on their own when they've completed their hours!  Some have gone on to their own military careers.

Every year we deliver Christmas dinner, along with food and necessities like soap, toilet paper, paper towels and gifts for children to as many as 25-40 local families in need.

Needless to say, all of these things require a constant need for raising funds!  Which brings me to the purpose of my lengthy explanation of who we are and what we do.  We manage to steal from Peter to pay Paul each month.  It's difficult to do much more.   And we should be!

Last year, I spent 8 months planning a battle of the bands.  I raised $7500 in sponsor donations to help offset the cost of hosting such a huge production.  We had 19 bands, merchandise vendors, food vendors and a professional sound engineer.  We rented stages and a generator to handle the equipment and we offered $3500 in prize money to the top 3 bands.  Everything was great until Hurricane Irma decided to set her sights on the east coast the very weekend we were scheduled!  We postponed until December.   The weather had been beautiful and it looked to be perfect for our weekend event.  But mother nature decided to turn for the worse and we were hit with an arctic blast.  Temps a full 40 degrees less than what we expected.   We had no choice but to push through and hold the event.  Luckily, we only lost 4 of the bands competing and 2 food vendors.  We borrowed outdoor heaters and prayed for the best.  Unfortunately, the public turn out was not what we hoped for.   To say I was disappointed would be an understatement.  I felt I had let my Post family down.  We barely covered the cost of the production and we were no closer to putting much needed funds into our accounts to continue helping our Vets!

You can imagine my surprise when the Executive Board unanimously voted 2 weeks ago to let me try again!   (in warmer weather of course)   I was even more surprised to have offers of help from some unexpected places and thanks to them, I will not have the expense of hiring a sound technician, renting stages or a generator.  Those 3 items account for almost $8000 in expenses!

This means I can focus on raising funds for the prize money and most importantly, raising funds to help the Post continue to do what they do!
It would be so nice to be able to tell our Veteran's Service Officer that he no longer has to pull funds out of his own pocket to help a Veteran in need.  I know he would be thrilled if we were able to tell him he could attend the VSO Training and Certification in Indianapolis.  At a cost of $14,000, it is not something he could even wish to experience.

I am hoping to raise enough funds to cover the $3500 prize money and place funds back in to our VA Fund to continue to assist our Veterans in need. In a dream world, I would love to raise enough funds to send our Service Officer to be certified. 

I will be the first to admit, I am terrible about asking for help.  It's even harder to put a price tag on it.   I just want to help my Legion family and
your contribution would go a long way towards achieving that.  With your help, we can continue to support our Veterans in need, continue our community outreach and continue to sponsor our youth in programs that are so very important.  

Thank you for taking the time to read.  Blessings to you and if you're a Veteran...thank you for your service!
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I'm excited about a call I received today from some people who would like to participate in our event. They are launching a small church and are eager to be one of our food vendors. It will help them financially and give them the opportunity to share information about their church. Talk about a win-win...they'll be helping us and we'll be helping them!
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We're so excited! We already have 4 bands committed to competing, car enthusiasts signing up and our vendors are eager to participate!
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$475 of $20,000 goal

Raised by 5 people in 28 days
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