Close friends Michelle Scarafile Wallace and Pam Hartley began The Charleston Basket Brigade in 2008 with a commitment to bring the community together to provide Thanksgiving meals for families in need in Charleston, SC. “It’s hard to believe it’s been 14 years already,” said Michelle, co-founder.
“I remember when we started,” Pam said. “When we found out that there were children going to bed hungry right here in Charleston, we knew we had to do something about it.”
Michelle and Pam met in 2006 during a leadership seminar held by Anthony Robbins and became fast friends. In 2008, Michelle brought the idea to Pam to create a Basket Brigade and they both quickly got into action. “I knew that with Pam’s help and marketing genius, we could really make a difference here in Charleston. When the recession hit, we knew that there were so many families…so many kids that were impacted locally”.
The Basket Brigade concept was inspired by Anthony Robbins, whose foundation feeds millions of people through various food banks and charities each year. In the first year, the duo fed 75 families. In 2009, they recruited more volunteers and the effort raised over $12,900 to feed 430 families. In 2010, the effort more than tripled raising $48,840 and feeding 1628 families that Thanksgiving. In 2011, $75,000 was raised and 2,506 families were fed, exceeding the non-profit’s goal all while being delivered in the rain!
Since 2012, the organization has continuously raised over $100,000 every Thanksgiving. Over the past fourteen years, the brigade has raised almost a million dollars and served almost 37,000 families in need with the help of thousands of Charleston volunteers and donors. Our 2022 intent is to not only feed 3,500 families, but to also bring the community together to assemble and deliver as we have done in years past. We are on a mission to feed 21,000 people this Thanksgiving.
Our goal for 2022 is to provide Thanksgiving meals for 3,500 families.
“There is an even greater need for those in our community since Covid-19 and that is why we are dedicated to feeding at least 3,500 families,” said Hartley. “And with the assistance of so many incredible organisations and community members, we know we can make it happen.”
100% of the funds we raise are utilized to buy food.
This fundraising effort would not be possible without the commitment of Lowcountry Grocers’ Piggly Wiggly, Carolina One Real Estate, Communities In Schools, Momentum Marketing, the City of North Charleston and many local businesses, organisations, caring friends, families and community members.
Lowcountry Grocers’ Piggly Wiggly is our local grocery store champion that manages the massive food order, delivers all of the food to the Convention Center, and provides us with a sizeable donation!
Hundreds of local volunteers in the community, along with Carolina One agents and employees, raise money year round to contribute to the event.
Communities In Schools, a non-profit organisation that serves over 12,000 students in Charleston and Berkeley counties, is an integral part of our effort. They locate majority of the families that will receive meal donations and they are also invaluable when it comes to delivery.
Momentum Marketing leads the event coordination, community outreach, public relations and social media.
At the heart of the Charleston Basket Brigade, we are a mission to not only provide these families with food, but with a joyous holiday experience that they would otherwise not have. Families are able to cook the meal together, and sit around the dinner table and share in this special Thanksgiving experience.
The responses from families that receive a basket from the group are overwhelmingly appreciative and oftentimes tear-filled. One parent said emphatically, “Oh thank you, thank you so much, prayers really do get answered.”
Help feed families in need this Thanksgiving by clicking here to make a donation.
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