Kudos to S.C. lawmakers – and
particularly Murrells Inlet Republican Sen. Ray Cleary – for pushing through
legislation to give voters the chance to allow churches and other nonprofits to
hold fundraising raffles.
Tuesday's editorial profiles the good work going on at the North Strand Helping Hand, which recently installed a new director:
The new director of North Strand Helping Hand promises “good things” for the nonprofit, which serves many families from its headquarters at 2501 Long Bay Road, off S.C. 90 in Longs.
Peter Casamento, who calls himself “a Jersey boy,” took over the Helping Hand operation in September following the departure of Margaret Owens who took a job with Clemson University. Casamento wants to tweak the food distribution process to make the food pantry one of client choice. This was the case at the pantry of Our Lady Star of the Sea, started by Casamento while he was a pastoral associate at the North Myrtle Beach church. “They came in, then went shopping [and] they left with goods they wanted,” he said.
Wednesday’s editorial highlights a
great program that pairs at-risk students with mentors from a local church, a
model that more churches in the area might want to consider:
Parishioners of St. Stephen’s
Episcopal Church in North Myrtle Beach are in their third year of mentoring
at-risk children at Loris
spending an hour every week talking with children one-on-one and helping them
with basic academic skills.
Connie S. Lawson, director of the
Kids Hope program at St. Stephen’s, says “I’m just delighted” that the 40
mentors this school year all were in the program last year. Lawson finds it
significant that “even when people have to step back – it’s been for health
reasons – no one has said, ‘it’s not my cup of tea.’” The few who have stopped
weekly mentoring all continue as substitutes or prayer partners. The latter are
behind the scenes, maintaining the constitutionally required separation of
church and state.
Wednesday’s editorial highlights the
good work and successful summer campaign of Help4Kids’ Backpack Buddies
Twenty-three years ago after
Hurricane Hugo struck coastal South
Carolina, three women “went out to do a little
volunteer work and found such a need,” Help4Kids founder Barb Mains recalls. In
1989, Mains was with her sister Aileen Page, also still involved with
Help4Kids, and a friend, Lee Dougherty, who has moved to Alabama.
More than two decades later, Backpack
Buddies snacks are distributed at 23 Horry
County schools during the
school year – 2,400 every week. The weekend snacks are distributed on Fridays
to the backpacks of children who otherwise might not have much to eat over the
weekend. The bags of snacks include little cans of Vienna sausages, a favorite of many
youngsters from all economic levels.
Tuesday’s editorial pleads for a
little more restraint when it comes to our anger at the violence against our
interests in the Middle East:
In the wake of last week’s violent
protests in the Middle East, including one that left four U.S. Embassy workers
dead in Libya,
many in our area have been understandably incensed. The brutal actions were
reprehensible and deserve swift and unerring justice. But while justifiably
enraged at these indefensible attacks, some have unfortunately quickly turned
the blame on the entire Islamic faith or Arab race.
Wednesday’s editorial profiles the good work of the Waccamaw Community Foundation, which gives grants to local causes:
The Waccamaw Community Foundation, an area nonprofit that supports a variety of interests and causes through philanthropy, awarded a record $455,606 in grants for the first quarter of the year. Annual grants total $1.5 million and they reflect the wishes and interests of the donors of funds. It’s good news for local nonprofits that are still facing a financial crunch as contributors recover from the recession.
Sunday’s editorial weighs in on the topic of whether or not to further sanitize prayer at government meetings:
Stop by any meeting of elected officials in our area and one of the first things you’ll hear – usually right before the Pledge of Allegiance – is an invocation. These prayers, sometimes offered by local ministers and sometimes by officials themselves, have a long history in our Bible Belt communities.
Some of our municipalities – Surfside Beach and Myrtle Beach, for instance – have gone so far as to recognize the invocation in their municipal code. The S.C. House and Senate also explicitly call for an invocation as part of their official rules of business. In other words, we’re a praying people.
On Thursday, as families across the Strand give thanks, we add our own list of blessings:
Today, we as a nation set apart a time specifically for giving thanks, a day for looking back upon the gifts of the past year and reflecting on all the good that we have borne witness to. Rooted in our country’s harsh Puritan heritage and made official in 1863 by Abraham Lincoln in the midst of our worst trial as a nation, the holiday is more than just a time to gather with family and friends and loosen our belts a notch or two.
Our country’s annual ritual of self-reflection and corporate gratitude offers a welcome and needed opportunity to step back from the daily frustrations of life and wonder at the amazing gifts we have enjoyed and which we too often take for granted.
Sunday’s editorial catches up with our local Muslim community as Ramadan approaches and on the heels of some divisive statements made in the presidential race:
GOP presidential contender Herman Cain made headlines recently with the vitriolic idea that communities have the right to keep mosques from being built in their towns. His worry, he said, was that Muslims are furtively trying to inject sharia law into the U.S. and many can’t be trusted. For the record, he’s wrong, and he’s admitted as such since.
Whether he truly accepted that his initial stance was way off base or whether he simply abjured in the face of strong condemnation, Cain apologized on Wednesday after a meeting with Muslims in Virginia, emerging “humble and contrite.” He further acknowledged in a statement issued afterward that Muslim Americans, “like all Americans,” have the right to freely practice their faith.
On this Easter morning we celebrate the unexpected acts of kindness that still exist in our world, if only we take the time to look for them:
As journalists, we see and hear the worst of this world every day. We chronicle innumerable appalling acts of greed, lust, violence, disaster and foolishness dispiriting in their very ordinariness.
It’s regrettably easy to lapse into detached cynicism and forget the individual lives that make up every story we report. Part of that may be due to our status as professional observers. It’s our role to sit objectively in the background and not become involved. We report the stories; with few exceptions, we don’t take part in the stories. That level of aloofness can mean we see stories in terms of dispassionate numbers – the number of buildings leveled or the number of soldiers killed or the number of domestic violence victims this year.