Thursday, September 27, 2012
I would like to sincerely thank the Lowcountry biker community for their overwhelming and record breaking support of Goodwill’s 4th Annual Undy 500 motorcycle charity ride. The Undy 500 helps raise awareness of our Homeless Veterans and provides funding for programs and services that support our local homeless and struggling veterans.
I was overwhelmed by the number of bikers who came out to support the cause. This year saw 543 riders, bringing in over 3,600 pieces of donated undergarments that will be provided to our homeless Veterans at the Annual Stand Down Against Homelessness. That is over a 50 percent increase in participation over the 2011 event. The Undy 500 raised more than $13,000, which will all go toward supporting of our local veterans who are homeless and/or struggling.
Each year in October, Goodwill partners with the VA Medical Center for the Annual Stand Down Against Homelessness, a two day event, where hundreds of veteran and community homeless receive medical and dental screenings, clothing, food, hygiene services, job assistance and legal counseling. The undergarments collected through the Undy 500 event will be distributed to Veterans during the Stand Down.
Goodwill’s commitment to our veteran community doesn’t end with the annual Stand Down; it continues throughout the year in the form of thousands of dollars worth of clothing vouchers and job search assistance through a Goodwill funded program, Operation Independence. When grant funding ran out for this program several years ago, Goodwill’s Board of Directors made the decision to commit $200,000 annually to continue to reach out to veterans providing assistance in getting their lives back on track. Through Operation Independence, Goodwill has touched the lives of more than 175 homeless and/or struggling veterans and placed over 70 into jobs in our community.
A special thank you to the Boeing Motorcycle Club for initiating a facility-wide donation drive that brought in over 200 packages of undergarments for the Stand Down. In addition to Boeing and community contributors, I also want to thank the following sponsors that helped make the Undy 500 possible with their tremendous support; Low Country Harley-Davidson, Red’s Ice House at Bohicket Marina, WEZL, Q104.5, Trico Landscape and Supply, Southeaster Paper Group, South Carolina Federal Credit Union, Slingers and South Windermere Garden Club. I can’t thank them enough for the time, energy and talents contributed in support of Goodwill’s efforts to help our veterans and for helping to make the 4th Annual Undy 500 a success.
President & CEO
Goodwill Industries of Lower South Carolina