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The Official Site of Allendale Enterprise, a 501(c)(3) Non-Profit Corporation
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The Official Site of Allendale Enterprise, a 501(c)(3) Non-Profit Corporation
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Joy To The Children


2022 starts the year with another hundred plus happy kids on their new bikes. In December of 2021, Lottie organized a free bicycle event at the school auditorium. Families brought their children to take possession of their rides. The bikes were donated by our generous friends. The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of South Carolina donated helmets. This little girl is wearing hers like crown with great pride. And this young super hero is ready to hit the streets with his shield to protect the people of Allendale.
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Faith, community service and arts merge to help Allendale residents

By Laura J. McKenzie
When does faith, community service, economic development and the arts merge? It did so February 17-26 in Allendale.
Allendale Enterprise Executive Director Lottie Lewis, who is also Allendale County’s Arts Maven, coordinated with the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of South Carolina to invite 72 teenagers, their chaperones and contractors from Connecticut on a mission trip to upgrade several homes in Allendale, install playground equipment at Emma’s House and make a positive impact on the community.
Download the full press release.
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Photos and story by Laura J. McKenzie
A “YG” team of 72 teens from the Congregational Church of New Canaan, Connecticut spent a week in Allendale volunteering their time and efforts to revitalize the homes of several senior residents, install playground equipment at the non-profit Emma’s House, and sort clothes at Christ Central’s thrift store. The youth and their counselors were housed at Camp Jackson, a Christian retreat located between Allendale and Kline.
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Many thanks to Laura McKenzie of Allendale for taking all of the photos in this section and writing all of the text. Laura has been a true friend to Allendale Enterprise, giving a great deal of her valuable time to help in several ways.
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Teen volunteers from New Canaan, Connecticut completely painted the outside of Vernia Gadson’s home and cleaned the yard during a recent revitalization project in Allendale.
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Allendale Enterprise President Lottie Lewis, who is also Allendale County’s Arts Maven, coordinated with the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of South Carolina to invite 72 teenagers, their chaperones and contractors from Connecticut on a mission trip to upgrade several homes in Allendale, install playground equipment at Emma’s House and make a positive impact on the community.

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“The arts are about making our surroundings beautiful and beneficial. One key in economic development is how a community looks - not only on the surface but deep down,” said Lewis. “The challenge is having the funds and the manpower to do the projects that are needed.”
“God sent us a band of angels,” she said.

By working with the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of South Carolina, local sponsor Allendale First Baptist Church and the Connecticut volunteers, homes of several elderly residents were made nicer and safer. Work included replacing roofs, building wheelchair ramps, minor landscaping, painting interiors and some exteriors, and other minor repairs. “We didn’t have to spend a penny,” said Lewis. “They brought all the tools and materials with them.”

The teens are part of a youth group called “YG” from Congregational Church in New Canaan, Connecticut. They flew to South Carolina and were housed at Camp Jackson located between Allendale and Barnwell. The Finicky Bean, an Allendale company, catered their meals.


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Vernia Gadson, 80, watched from her porch as the volunteers raked the yard while others applied stain on a wooden wheelchair ramp. “This has been a blessing from the Lord who knew I needed help,” said Gadson. “All the children have been so smart and so respectful.”

Gadson said she likes seeing homes look like they did when she was a child. “That was when Savannah River (Site) came and people were employed. They were able to keep things going (and looking nice),” she said.

Belle Dunlap, 17, and Sophie Austin, 18, were among the teens working on Gadson’s home. “It’s nice to give back to the people and continue what God wants us to do,” said Austin when asked why she was a part of the project. Dunlap responded that she thinks “it’s a good thing to leave the town that you’ve grown up with. It’s a breath of fresh air to see how other people are living.”
The biggest impact on the girls has been the gratitude of the homeowners to the volunteers. “Even if it is so little, like painting the house, it makes me want to continue helping,” said Austin.

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The teens were divided into “teams” of 12 to 15 who were assigned to specific projects along with two team leaders and a contractor.
“A key part of Jesus’ ministry when he was on Earth was service and serving those who were less fortunate,” said Lauren Carlson as her team was tearing into a leaking porch roof. “We feel called as Christians to continue his mission and to come as we are able, serving communities that need the resources and are more vulnerable. We are doing the work we can.”

One of Carlson’s teammates, Ryan Whitman, 15, said, “It’s a great opportunity to get out of my home and experience something I’ve never experienced before, to see how others are living.” She said the work is helping her with her faith journey. “I have made so many friends and feel I am making an impact.”
Lewis said improvement efforts are “contagious”.

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Emma’s Helping Hands House, owned by the non-profit organization Allendale Enterprise, is a place for children to play and learn after school. The colorful playground equipment was purchased by the Congregational Church and the some of the volunteers put it together while others landscaped the surrounding area. “We want our children to get fresh air and move their bodies,” said Lewis. “The playground gives them a place to have fun and get exercise at the same time.”
They also picked up trash and helped Cora Berry at Christ Central to organize clothing at the church’s thrift store.

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Teens from Connecticut hold hands in prayer with Frank and Lottie Lewis at a celebration dinner held at Camp Jackson on their final night in Allendale after a week of hard work.
Volunteers and homeowners came together Friday, Feb. 25 to share a final meal and give testimony to the work that had been done. They were also entertained by soloist Nate Hartley.
It was a merging of souls with a lasting impact.
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Many thanks to Laura McKenzie of Allendale for taking all of the photos in this section and writing all of the text. Laura has been a true friend to Allendale Enterprise, giving a great deal of her valuable time to help in several ways.
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