MARCH 2016


Dear Hope House Family,

We welcomed the new year on a high note at Hope House of Myrtle Beach. It was a wonderful Christmas season for our students, thanks to so many of you all. Your loyalty and generosity to these kids is life changing. Also, the Hope House Board of Directors is working hard to apply all of your donations, financial and material, to their best benefit. We are thrilled to have been awarded a grant from PNC Bank to underwrite the expense of sending our qualifying students to specialty camps this summer. These camps vary from scholastic to artistic to athletic. We must develop criteria for students to apply and go about the business of then selecting them. It will be challenging for all but should be advantageous for our kids, advancing their skills and talents to new levels.

Thanks to the generosity of an anonymous donor, Hope House has also started a fund for all the senior students to afford them the special tributes that accompany their last school year. Hope House believes in giving our teens the very best high school experience we can. The Senior Reserve will underwrite the expenses of yearbooks, senior trip, prom, graduation cap and gown, and others. Rewarding our students with these privileges encourages them to perform well and prepares them better for the world in which they will be taking their places.

It’s very much worth mentioning here that the Hope House message service receives many inquiries about mentoring. This is a wonderful kindness to provide. However, as we work through the Myrtle Beach High School Guidance Department, our mentoring process is addressed “in house.” When a counselor sees a need for more personal coaching, we call on those programs already in place in our county. There are several, and we refer people who wish to volunteer in this way to them. All are easily found online for details. Likewise, we have a relationship with organizations such as the Boys and Girls Club who do so much to provide activities and fraternity for young people. The YMCA and our city recreation centers also have terrific programs of all kinds for youth and adults alike in Myrtle Beach.

Streamlining the services of Hope House is always first and foremost to us. This year, due to the terrible, ongoing problem of bedbugs, we took a serious step toward addressing the threat of spreading infestation. On the advice of SCDHEC, we reduced the size of the supply room, which we used at the high school to receive and distribute all of our material donations. The smaller facility now holds clothing on a seasonal basis only, and the canned and dry goods will be in stock always but not in excess. We have been able to develop such good relationships with our donors that if an immediate need arises, we know we can reach out and have that need met specifically. Again, this is thanks to the huge part you all play in Hope House.

Guest Services of Broadway at the Beach supports Hope House by donating items left and not claimed by visitors (jackets, tech items, for example.) We are grateful to Mr. Jim Powalie, Susan, and all employees for their support!

On February 8, Hope House of Myrtle Beach held its annual meeting. The year 2015 was a full and lucrative one as revealed in the President’s and Treasurer’s Reports. The Nominating Chair, Roz Gentry, presented a slate which included all of the current four (4) officers going forward to serve another year and one nomination for director, Jonny McCoy. Each had expressed his or her willingness and availability to perform the respective duties in the upcoming year. Mr. McCoy was elected to a three-year term from 2016-2019. The agenda concluded with recognition to both Sue Cranford and Roz Gentry who retired from their positions as directors. Their dedicated service was acknowledged, and each received an award as a token and reminder of our gratitude. We know they will remain a part of the HH family.

Prom tickets went on sale at the end of February and will increase in price on a weekly scale up until March 19. The event will be held on Thursday, March 24th, 8:00 – 11:00 pm, at House of Blues. Light hors d’ oeuvres will be served all evening. Hope House will again this year make sure every senior student who wishes to go – guy and gal – will be stylin’! Mt. Olive AME Church will also work with Hope House to sponsor students who need support in purchasing tickets and pictures. Cameron Musick at Divine Salon and Spa will provide mini pedicures, manicures and facials for selected MBHS juniors and seniors. MBHS alumnus, Dr. John Grant, is the owner.

Spring Break will follow from Friday, March 25 until Monday, April 4.

The Alpha Epsilon Chapter of Alpha Delta Kappa International Honorary Female Educators Sorority will host the annual ADK southeast region conference April 8-10. Hope House has been chosen as the organization’s Altruistic Project during the conference. Hope House Visionary, Vice President and Board Member, M. Cookie Goings will speak on behalf of Hope House. Mrs. Goings has been a member of ADK, since September 30, 1997.

Currently, Hope House is serving thirty-four (34) students who have qualified as homeless under the McKinney-Vento Act. Of these, eleven (11) are unaccompanied – one (1) is housed with her older sister in the Center for Women and Children while the other ten (10) are with Seahawk Families. Another forty to fifty (40-50) students, whose household incomes are beneath poverty level, are assisted as well. Groceries are distributed regularly every Friday to any and all who show up for them. Clothing and personal hygiene items are also available then. Everything is on hand at any other time when we receive a request. Nurse Lynn Merrill is front and center for all medical referrals, and every student in crisis has a Guidance Counselor’s phone number in case of emergency. All of them kept us busy this winter!

One of our HH students delivered such an inspirational speech during a recent assembly at Myrtle Beach High, including her struggles with homelessness and her victories as an honor student and an athlete, that she received a standing ovation!

Hope House of Myrtle Beach thanks each of you for your support of these students.

We wish you all a very happy and most blessed Easter season.


Gretchen Abney, President

Cookie Goings, Vice-President

Kelly Payne, Secretary

J. Burt Huggins, Treasurer

Diane P’Pool, Jonny McCoy & Todd Harms, Directors

Advisory: George W. “Bo” Bryan; Myra Starnes


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