Islanders gear up for the Cainhoy Children’s Christmas Project

***image1***A child’s smile is the essence of the holiday season.

Sadly, there are children living near Daniel Island who seldom experience the thrill of a visit from Santa and his elves.

Daniel Island residents plan to change all that Dec. 16 with a surprise holiday extravaganza for Cainhoy Elementary-Middle School students.

Planning began last week when 14 people met at the Daniel Island Club to launch a community fund drive called "Stocking Stuffers for Cainhoy Kids" to buy toys, clothing and other presents for 412 children in the Cainhoy-Wando-Huger neighborhoods.

The Daniel Island Community Fund has pledged to match all money raised during the drive. Last year, a similar project bought hundreds of bicycles for kids on the Cainhoy Peninsula.

"We are so blessed to live on Daniel Island," said chairperson Diane Ludwig. "And the Cainhoy Children’s Christmas Project is a wonderful way that we can open up our hearts to bring joy to our extended neighbors in Cainhoy."

Jimmy Bailey, vice president of Daniel Island Community Services, opened the meeting by talking about some of the identified needs in Cainhoy’s rural historically African-American neighborhoods, which were established after the Civil War. Many residents have had to endure intergenerational poverty, heirs-property entanglements and a lack of safe housing, conditions that were largely unknown by people in other communities before I-526 was built. Since then, extensive development is threatening to shred some of these traditional neighborhoods.

"Basically, Cainhoy was off the map, but a lot of eyes have been opened in the last 10 years," Bailey said. "The wonderful addition of Daniel Island has had some negative impact upon Cainhoy and our projects are a way to try to give back to that community."

Bailey praised Ludwig’s leadership and said his staff will help promote the fund drive.

"I salute Diane for what she’s doing," he said. "You will put a smile on these kids’ faces for at least one day out of the year. For 95 percent of them, this will be the only thing they get for Christmas."

Ludwig and her volunteers plan to provide each child with a red nylon mesh bag. They will then fill up these bags with selected presents at "elf" stations. Items will include a new pair of sneakers and socks, a t-shirt and shorts, a sweatshirt, Frisbee and a choice of one of the following: basketball, football, volleyball, soccer ball, baseball and bat, playground ball, sidewalk chalk, a jump rope and jacks. In addition, they will receive juice packs, health bars and Santa will be handing out candy canes. (Committee members hope to enlist a well-known celebrity Santa.)

"The room needs to sparkle with a decorated tree, lights and music," Ludwig said, adding that Peggy and Jack Slapcinsky’s operations committee needs volunteers to help the children get in and out in an orderly manner. "Colleen Groseclose is overseeing the decorating committee and needs volunteers to create a winter wonderland so when the children walk through the doors they will be excited because, for many of these children, this party and their gift bag may be the only Christmas that they will experience."

Look for the distinctive red mesh gift bags soon at various locations on Daniel Island. Ludwig and DICF employees are handling solicitations. The suggested amount for each donation is $50, which will be matched by the Community Fund. Committee members also suggested ways to provide gifts for children’s families, too.

Jim Morrill is head of the finance committee. Arthur Quinby, who chairs the marketing and advertising committee with David Burnstein, said it would be gratifying to participate in the party on Dec. 16.

"Last year we gave all of those bikes but then the Marines came and took them away and we didn’t get to see the looks on the kids’ faces," he said. "This will help create a higher awareness. Right now, people know more about the victims of Hurricane Katrina than they do about what’s going on in Cainhoy."

Bailey agreed, noting that he hopes the visit by Daniel Island residents will help establish a connection to the neighboring community.

"This is a wonderful opportunity to give of oneself by donating your money, your time and expertise," Ludwig said.

Volunteers are needed for Dec. 15-16: Late afternoon on the 15th and all day, or morning or afternoon shifts at the Cainhoy school on the 16th. Please contact Bob Jordan, volunteer coordinator, at 971-6674 or by email:

The decorating committee is taking donations for artificial Christmas trees, lights, wrapping paper and ribbon.

To donate, checks should be made out to DCIF. This is a non-profit corporation so the donations are tax deductible.  The Daniel Island Community Foundation will also process credit card contributions. Call 971-4405 and leave a message and they will return calls for card information. Also, if anyone is a member of the Daniel Island Club, they can put their donation on their club account.

Daniel Island Publishing

225 Seven Farms Drive
Unit 108
Daniel Island, SC 29492 

Office Number: 843-856-1999
Fax Number: 843-856-8555


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