Friday, 13 July 2018 05:02

Salkehatchie Team Breathes New Life into Marlboro County Home

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 Marlboro County Home Before Makeover   Marlboro County Home Before Makeover  Photos submitted by Chuck Thames

MARLBORO COUNTY, SC - Each year, during the week of July 4th, while many families are enjoying a relaxing vacation, there is group of very special volunteers from all across South Carolina who descend on Marlboro County, SC to make a difference in the lives of those less fortunate than themselves.  These volunteers are quick to tell you though, they get even more out of the experience than they give. 

According to their website, Salkehatchie was founded by Rev. John Culp in 1978.  That year, Culp, former pastor of First United Methodist Church in Bennettsville, S.C. led a group of 40  volunteers who worked for a week to help four families that were living in some of the worst poverty conditions in the country. Since that time, the effort has grown to 46 camps with over 2,000 campers participating every summer.  The camps are held at various poverty stricken areas of the state throughout the summer. 

“Salkehatchie is more than just a church outreach program. It is more than just a volunteer group and it is more than just a summer youth camp. Salkehatchie is faith in action. Youth volunteers head into rural, low-income towns to work in difficult conditions, allowing themselves to be the face, hands and feet of Christ.” 

This year, the team of roughly 100 volunteers completed eight different projects in Marlboro County.  The biggest project was an almost complete renovation of a house that had fallen into severe disrepair. The damage began on September 22, 1989 when Hurricane Hugo slammed into the coast of South Carolina and ripped the shingles from this home. 

Leith Fowler, assistant camp director recently said, “When we saw this house, we couldn’t walk away from it.”  Fowler and fellow Salkehatchie coordinator Bryan Mikels first visited the house for consideration and initially they were convinced nobody lived there. However, Fowler said, “As we were about to drive away I noticed the car in the yard had a current sticker on the license plate.”  That’s when the two knocked on the door.  When nobody came to the door, Fowler opened it slightly and shined his flashlight down the hall.  That awoke the homeowner who Fowler then told, “We’re here to help you.” Nathaniel said, “I’ve prayed for this help for years and my mother always told me, God answers prayers in His time, not ours.” Nathaniel, who works every day as a temporary worker at a local industrial plant, took the 4th of July week off (without pay) to be there to work alongside the volunteers.  

Salkehatchie Team breathes new life into  Marlboro County Home Interior of front room of house after clean out. Floor expected to be replaced this Saturday

The project is the biggest project the local team has ever taken on but Fowler was confident in the team’s ability to make a difference.  The house had an almost completely collapsed roof and walls that had rotted away from years of extensive water damage.  “By the end of the week we had completely replaced the roof, as well as a front and side deck but it’s going to take much more effort, resources and volunteers to get the house transformed back into a home in the coming months.”  Fowler has been thrilled by the outpouring of local support thus far and stands ready to see this project through to completion.  A group of volunteers from a Richmond County church has already planned to install the floor in the front half of the house this Saturday.  A local industry has been busy completing necessary rewiring of the house this week as well.  

Salkehatchie Team breathes new life into  Marlboro County Home      Salkehatchie Team breathes new life into  Marlboro County Home Porch and Roof Repairs completed last week

Want to help?  A GoFundMe page has been established to collect donations for this specific project in hopes of raising enough money to completely refurbish the home as well as furnishing it with appliances, furniture, and heat and air.  100% of the proceeds from this fundraising effort will be used on this project.  If your church or civic organization would like to participate in the rebuilding project please contact Leith Fowler at (843) 862-4862.

Click on the links to the donation site as well as a short video about Salkehatchie below. 

Salkehatchie On CBS



Last modified on Friday, 13 July 2018 10:22