Spartanburg Gives Thanks through the County Foundation’s Annual Community Thanksgiving Service

Thanksgiving began as a time to celebrate the end of a good harvest season. And while that may still be true for our country's farmers, others use it as a time of year to reflect and express what they are thankful for; be it good health, a steady job or their family.  It's also a time when many seek out to assist those that are less fortunate. 

This week the Spartanburg County Foundation joined more than 700 community foundations across America for Community Foundation Week. Launched in 1989, the effort has raised awareness about the increasingly important role these philanthropic organizations play in fostering local collaboration and innovation to address persistent civic and economic challenges. "We always look forward to Community Foundation Week as a way in which to celebrate our heritage and the impact that the Foundation is making in this community with the help of our generous donors," said John Dargan, president and CEO of The Spartanburg County Foundation.  Since its inception in 1943, the Foundation has awarded over $102 million in grants and scholarships to improve the overall quality of life for citizens in Spartanburg County.

Community foundations and trusts represent one of the fastest-growing forms of philanthropy. Every state in the United States is home to at least one community foundation - large and small, urban and rural - that is advancing solutions to a wide range of social issues. Last year, community foundations granted an estimated $4.2 billion to a variety of nonprofit activities in the areas of arts, education, health and human services, the environment, and disaster relief. "At a time when the needs are many and resources are limited, we are more determined than ever to find innovative and effective solutions to our community's most challenging issues," said Dargan.  "Building the capacity of local nonprofits is one area in which we are continually focused." 

Each year, the Spartanburg Community Foundation hosts a Thanksgiving Service Event for a different local charity. "The Spartanburg Community Thanksgiving Service is an event that we always look forward to. This year, Trinity United Methodist Church is privileged to host this special evening that brings our community together," said Reverend Dr. Steve Holler, pastor of Trinity United Methodist Church.  "Not only is it a time for the community to gather together to give thanks, but it's an opportunity to bless a local nonprofit organization who is doing great things in our community.  This year, that organization is The Children's Security Blanket."

Established in 2001, The Children's Security Blanket provides financial support, connects individuals in need with those who can assist, and delivers hope to families whose children are facing cancer.

"The Children's Security Blanket has a three-pronged approach to standing in the gap with these Spartanburg County families," said Tom Russell, co-founder and president.  "Due to the fact that insurance does not cover all of the expenses involved in taking a child for treatment, The Children's Security Blanket pays for travel expenses, lodging, and food for the child and needed adults for these trips.  We also host a monthly Family Night, August - May, to all family members in our program.  Lastly, each June, we invite the children and their siblings to participate in Camp Victory at Optimist Acres."

Since 2001, The Children's Security Blanket has helped over 70 families to bridge the challenges of the invasion of cancer in their homes.  Currently, there are 38 children in the program.

"The Children's Security Blanket brings joy and happiness to the children's hearts and also relieves the financial burden for the parents so that they can comfort their child during these challenging times," said Russell. Assistance received will be used to finance travel expenses, lodging and food; assist with the monthly Family Nights, and send children to Camp Victory.

On Tuesday, November 20, 2012 at 7:00 p.m., all members of the Spartanburg community are invited to gather together at Trinity United Methodist Church, located at 626 Norwood Street in Spartanburg, for the charity affair. A reception will be held in the Family Life Center immediately following. As a sponsor of this event, The Spartanburg County Foundation matches the plated offering dollar-for-dollar up to $5,000. 

The Foundation also conducts a leadership training program called the Grassroots Leadership Development Institute where each year, 28 dedicated individuals are selected to participate in the seven-month leadership training program. The program is designed for participants to increase their ability to make a positive difference in their neighborhoods and in the greater Spartanburg community. The deadline to apply or nominate someone for the 2013 session is Tuesday, November 20, 2012.  For more information, please contact the Spartanburg County Foundation at 864-582-0138.

Here are some other Spartanburg Thanksgiving charitable events:

The Spartanburg Running Club and Partners for Active Living host an annual Turkey Day 8k run that only requires a food donation to register.  Last year, SRC and its community partners collected over 7000 cans of food to distribute to local charities.

The annual Feed the Community event is to make sure that every person in Spartanburg has the opportunity to enjoy a hot meal on Thanksgiving Day. They expect to serve 11,000 meals this year.

Miracle Hill Ministries and Ellis and Bradley of WSSL 100 will be hosting their annual Turkey Fry to help feed approximately 2000 homeless individuals in all 9 area shelters as well as in the surrounding community.

Please check the Upstate Information Hub calendar to learn about additional community events happening across the region.

Sherry Jackson is a freelance writer, editor and entrepreneur. Her articles have been featured in InfoWorld Magazine,, USA Today, Blue Ridge Country, Jetsetter, Bootsnall, Gadling, Yahoo, See the South, Beckett Media, The Simpsonville Sentinel and many other print and online publications. For clips and examples of her work, please visit her website at