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Not All Heroes Wear Capes

October 23 - Update - WE DID IT! We hit our $1 million goal! Thank you to everyone who has contributed to make our dreams come true. Soon we can expand and be able to serve and help more children and teens.
Check out the story here on Cola Daily: http://bit.ly/1HED3YH
And while we've hit our goal, we are still raising money! We know construction will cost more than a million so we will just keep on going! You can help us reduce any loan debt we'd have to take on. Here's how you can donate: http://palmettoplaceshelter.org/donate/?
Check out the news stories by WLTX and WIS on our campaign!
Midlands Shelter to Take in More Homeless, Abused Kids (WLTX)

Watch WIS's story, Palmetto Place to Expand, Making Room for More Abused, Neglected Children, here!

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Since 1977, more than 7,000 kids of all ages have come through our front door. And now it's time to welcome even more kids into our home. It's time for us to grow - and we need your help.

Children like Anthony and Hailey don’t often have heroes. You may think their tragic story couldn’t happen here in the Midlands, but it did. Fortunately, YOU can be a hero!

When police entered their house, the first thing they noticed was the garbage piled high. Needles and other drug paraphernalia on a torn sofa. Anthony and Hailey were huddled together in a corner—no parent was in sight.

At Palmetto Place, Anthony and Hailey found a safe, nurturing home filled with love. Counseling helped them cope, and mentors helped them catch up in school and succeed.

But last month alone, we had to turn away 20 children in need. We just didn’t have the space. You can change that. You can be the hero children like Anthony and Hailey desperately need.

Palmetto Place’s Saving More Children campaign will renovate and expand Palmetto Place. Your gift will increase our number of beds by 50% and save more children from despair. Today, you can impact generations to come. Every day, we are getting closer to our $1 million goal to fund construction costs. Generous individuals and organizations in the Midlands have already given more than $900,000!

Will you to join them—to say “I’m here to help you” to the most vulnerable children right here in the Midlands?

You can give online at www.PalmettoPlaceShelter.org/donate (choose Saving More Children under Gift Type), or mail a check to Palmetto Place at PO Box 3395, Columbia, SC 29230.

Will you join us in Saving More Children and making changes that will last a lifetime?

We're excited to be working with The Winkler Group, Lambert Architecture, Hood Construction and GMK Associates on this capital campaign, expansion and renovation. We'll be sharing more details soon so be sure to check out this page plus Facebook and Twitter.

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Sharing Samantha's Story

One of our volunteers put together a video about one of our former residents, Samantha, and her journey from homelessness to success. We are so proud of Samantha and all of her hard work!

Samantha came to us during her senior year in high school. She had been living with her family in a church’s Sunday School classroom. After Samantha’s graduation, the church notified her family that the classroom was no longer available for them to sleep in. They had to move out immediately. That’s when Samantha found Palmetto Place.

When she started college in fall 2013, Samantha’s Palmetto Place family took her shopping for dorm supplies. They took her to lunch on her first day and then said teary goodbyes. They were like any normal family – just a bit more unconventional.

Today, Samantha still comes “home” on the weekends. She plays with the younger children and tutors the older ones. We taught her how to drive and helped her buy her first car.

We asked Samantha to tell us what happened to some of her homeless friends. She replied, “All of the homeless teens I’ve met were from Palmetto Place and they’re all doing well for themselves.”

Samantha knows many, however, who weren’t so lucky. “Some kids from my old neighborhoods haven’t gotten the support I did at Palmetto Place. They are in prison, on their third child, or doing illegal things to get money.”

“Palmetto Place gives a chance to kids like me to make something of ourselves.” Samantha will always remember her time here fondly, as it led her to realize that “there are people out there who care about us and want us to succeed. Thank you!”

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Christmas at Palmetto Place

Happy New Year! I hope 2013 has begun on a positive, happy note for you. I thought I’d share Palmetto Place’s Christmas holiday with you today. First let me say that Christmas for 15 kids is quite a feat, one that we couldn’t possibly pull off by ourselves. It truly takes a village to provide gifts for that many kids. We have a wonderful group of families, churches and business who “adopt” each of our residents for Christmas gifts.

Each resident writes a letter to Santa and that is an adventure in and of itself! Just like your own kids, some of ours have rather lofty Christmas wishes, like TVs, laptops, etc. We help them come up with more reasonable gifts. Other kids just ask for a visit with their families at Christmas. One teenager had only one item in her letter to Santa: contact lens solution. We didn’t even know she wore contacts until we read the letter! Needless to say, she had contact lens solution immediately.

We include clothing and shoe sizes on every resident’s wish list because so many kids arrive at Palmetto Place with so few clothes and usually only one pair of shoes.

Keep in mind that our kids can come and go at a moment’s notice – so we have to be quick on our feet and we keep a list of “emergency” Santas who can help find Christmas gifts for kids who come into our care at the last minute. This happens every single year. This year, three kids arrived three days before Christmas. The magic of Christmas – and the power of volunteers – is that all three of those kids had a pile of gifts by Christmas Day.

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It’s so much fun for us to see our volunteer Santas bringing in the Christmas gifts that they have so thoughtfully purchased and wrapped specially for our kids. It’s incredibly emotional for all of us – knowing that some kids have never written a letter to Santa and some kids aren’t used to having presents to open on Christmas morning. And, yet, a huge list of volunteers who don’t necessarily know these kids mobilize each year to make Christmas happen. That’s just plain magic to me and I’m grateful for each and every one of you who helped.

Outside of gifts, 15 kids have to be occupied when they are out of school for holiday break! Again, here come volunteers. A group of teachers came on Christmas Eve to bake cookies with the kids. The South Carolina Honors College put on a Christmas concert. TD Bank made hot chocolate and read Christmas stories. Riverland Hills Baptist Church helped the kids make Christmas ornaments. Kathwood Baptist Church brought dinner on the first day of vacation. Aeropostale brought teddy bears for each kid. A family collected Christmas pajamas for each child and brought Christmas Dinner; another collected Christmas socks. Dr. Pierce Butler delivered breakfast the day after Christmas, and a former board member brought Chinese food one night. The list goes on …

On Christmas Eve, Jill (our counselor) and I made dinner for the kids – a treat for the kids AND for us. We made all “mini” food – mini pizzas, mini quiches, etc. One teen girl helped Jill make pizzas and another took charge of making punch and serving it to everyone. A very fun way to spend Christmas Eve.

But, of course, the best part is Christmas morning. We all agreed on 7 am as the earliest they could get up. 15 bright shining faces came out of six bedrooms at 7 am. It’s truly amazing to watch their faces – “Santa really did come!”,  “Santa really does know where I am – he found me and brought me presents!” They are so grateful and appreciative – and so surprised that Santa knew what they wanted.

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I think my favorite moment on Christmas Day was the 15-year-old girl who asked for a giant Mickey Mouse doll. While she was very happy about the clothes and gift cards she received, the Mickey Mouse is what made her Christmas the best ever. I suspect that she had wanted that Mickey Mouse doll for a very long time and had never gotten it. Magic.

If you have any doubts about Santa or about the true meaning of Christmas, Palmetto Place will restore your faith. Watching the kids on Christmas Day makes me want to work harder, bring in more funding and introduce more people to our mission and our kids. Thanks for all you do for us to make Christmas a joyous day.

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