We have a double this month—our Charity Angel, Chris Wilcox, actually has volunteered and worked for an Angel Charity. We already have the definition of a Charity Angel—someone who gives unselfishly of themselves for the good of others. So, what is an Angel Charity? It is quite a rare designation. It means that according to very reliable ratings, a non-profit charity uses in the range of 10 percent on administrative or related costs. It also obviously means the reverse. For any dollar you give to an Angel Charity, in the range of 90 percent goes to actual client services. That is a huge honor and a much sought after designation. Our local Deep Well Project is such a charity!
PINK: Chris, I always ask our honorees how and why they first came to Hilton Head Island.
Chris: I was born on Ohio, moved to Arizona, and finally to Highland’s Ranch, Colorado, where my husband John and I raised our family. We lived there for 32 years and decided to exchange our mountain views for being close to the water and living in the Lowcountry. Our original plan was for both of us to retire, however the life plan had to be rethought as life situations changed. I wanted to work part-time, but I also wanted and needed to be a volunteer. My neighbor told me about Deep Well. I volunteered there as one of the people who took incoming calls from those needing client services. I also volunteered at the Bluffton Library and been instrumental in organizing my church’s involvement in the Backpack Buddies and St. James Soup Kitchen programs.
PINK: I know you have a full and varied schedule at Deep Well. Describe some of what you do.
Chris: Officially, I work as a staff assistant. My duties involve running the food pantry component of the organization. I train and work alongside the volunteers who come in to assist clients with their food requests. We pack food up to be delivered to clients who need delivery, for clients who stop by to pick up, or assist clients who choose to come into the pantry and do their own shopping for their families. I maintain our food inventories, shop for items that are needed andrun the multiple food drives our community holds for Deep Well’s benefit. I sort and shelve the food, manage the food that comes in to Deep Well from the Lowcountry Bank and Second Helpings, and anything else that needs to be done to keep this component operating smoothly. Holidays are the busiest time for us. A huge amount of food and pantry items flow in and need to be organized so it can all be turned around and given back to clients to help meet their needs. Actually the needs are year round. I also keep the furniture warehouse set up and organized so clients can pick up household items they may need.
PINK: Chris, you do an amazing amount of multifaceted jobs. You belie that old saying jack-of-all-trades, master of none. You are a master of them all! Share some of your values and motivations for all of the wonderful work you do for others.
Chris: My parents, especially my mom, set the example for my brother, sister and me to give back to our community in Columbus, Ohio. We participated in things like sharing Thanksgiving meals with foreign exchange students and serving at the local soup kitchen and volunteering in our local thrift shop. We worked with our church, and it was always emphasized over and over how blessed our family was, and how we should share our blessings with others. This is how we lived and how I live today. My husband shares this value, and together, we volunteer our time and talents as best we can.
PINK: What do you like to do when you have free time?
Chris: I love to travel. I love to explore new areas and different cultures. We hike, bike, and of course, walk on the beach. One of my daughters lives in Beaufort and my other is a student at Armstrong Atlantic University in Savannah. She is an Army veteran of the Iraq war and hopes to become a licensed occupational therapist perhaps working in the Veterans Administration system. As a family, we are survivors of many family vacations and camping trips. We are a close family and the girls went with us everywhere.
Thank you, Chris. What a pleasure it has been sharing your wonderful gifts to others with our readers. You are a true Charity Angel!
Betsy Doughty, Executive Director of Deep Well, tells us more about Chris!
“Chris started with us many years ago as an office volunteer, and when the job of Pantry Administrator came open, she accepted the challenge. And what a job she has done! Her gift of organization meant that our food pantry has every shelf in "apple pie" order, separated by expiration dates, so the oldest food would be used first and no food would be wasted. She always has a handle on pantry inventory and what goods are needed.
Chris has a wonderful rapport with volunteers and this has led to having helpers who feel valued and want to come again and again to assist her. She is respectful of their time and makes sure they enjoy their Deep Well experience. Because the volunteers are well directed in such an organized setting, the pantry runs like clockwork, especially with procedures and systems Chris has established and set into motion.