A local nonprofit organization has been supporting the families of special needs children and the children for more than a decade through the hard work of a five-member board and a strong committee that stands behind them.
Four Holes Fishing for Friends is continuing its charitable giving to help these families offset medical and other costs with an upcoming banquet and live auction.
The 14th annual event will begin at 5:30 p.m. Friday, March 1, at the Govindbhai Patel Community Center at 1175 Five Chop Road in Orangeburg. Dinner starts at 6 p.m. A live auction, silent auction and raffles will be held from 7 p.m. until.
Serving on the five-member board are Mark Murphy, Timmy Judy, Terri Lynne Sikes, Walt Pooser and Celeste Zeigler.
A resident of Cameron, Murphy said the annual banquet and live auction has raised as much as $225,000.
"We've probably got 40 people that help us overall put this together. So it's not just the five of us board members. We've got a great committee behind us," he said.
Everything from hunting and fishing trips and vacation home getaways to prints and guns are among the auction items that will be featured at the event.
Begun in the spring of 2006, the nonprofit organization has donated more than $500,000 to families since its inception. It morphed from a friendly neighborhood bass fishing tournament, which was held in the Four Holes area. The tournament winner decided against taking the modest amount of money raised, leaving the question of what should be done with the funds.
"We chose to take the $600 that we raised during that tournament and give it a child that lives about two miles down the road from us that has cerebral palsy," Murphy said.
"We went from the first year of raising $600 to the next year of $1,500, and the next year of $3,000. I think at last year's banquet we raised right at $225,000 in one night," he said.
"I think the last count I had was that it was 81 families that we've helped in the surrounding community, which is Orangeburg, Bamberg and Calhoun counties."
The group's successful banquet has outgrown several venue spaces.
"Our biggest thing is that we are local and we stand behind our community. All of our money is donated back into the three counties of Orangeburg, Bamberg and Calhoun, or someone with ties to our community," Murphy said.
"We've gone as far as Swansea, Charleston and even Maryland one time. But that was all because it was somebody that lived here and had grown up here and their child had gotten harmed in some way. All our money goes to the children."
The cost per person for the banquet and live auction is $100 per person in advance or $120 at the door. Tickets may be purchased from any committee member, at Murphy's Auto Glass and at the door.
The following Fishing For Friends board members can be contacted by phone: Judy, 803-378-5688; Sikes, 803-413-3058; Murphy, 682-0015; Pooser, 803-837-3028; and Zeigler, 803-682-0174. Individuals can also visit the group's Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/Fishing-For-Friends-596527810402184/.