FLORENCE, S.C. — A handwritten letter from a volunteer helped Lighthouse Ministries become one of nine Angels recognized on Nov. 20 by the office of Secretary of State Mark Hammond.
Lighthouse Ministries executive director Cecilia Meggs said she had been told by a person in the secretary of state’s office that the letter from Dan H. Allen helped put the organization over the top.
Meggs said the six-page letter written on Sept. 11 and received by the secretary of state’s office on Sept. 16 evoked tears from the person and the person went to her boss’s office and told him that she had found a 2019 Angel.
Allen said Wednesday afternoon that the organization meant a lot to him, because working as a volunteer helped him heal after the loss of his wife of 47 years, Rachel, on Oct. 23, 2012.
“That was the main thing,” Allen said.
Allen said he felt compelled to craft the letter.
“Compared to the group I just mentioned [the volunteers who have served for 20 years], I am a ‘rookie,’ (just have been here six years),” Allen said in the letter. “My involvement at Lighthouse came at a time of loss. ... Being at Lighthouse was the major source of my healing and letting go of my deep sadness.”
Allen started to volunteer shortly after he lost his wife, and his son-in-law died exactly one year later.
Allen began the letter by nominating the organization and introducing it to the office.
Lighthouse Ministries is a faith-based nonprofit social service agency that assists Florence County residents with basic needs when they find themselves in financial crisis. For more than 20 years, Lighthouse Ministries has been partnering with area congregations, businesses, organizations and individuals to light the way for people in need.
Lighthouse Ministries is in the Patterson Building at 1416 W. Evans St. in Florence.
“Now, the organization has gone far beyond providing beyond just the necessary elements for survival,” Allen said in the letter.
He lists several of the programs Lighthouse provides for the community including its working mothers’ group for mothers with children 5 or younger, its strengthening families group for families with children ages 6-11, a representative from Veterans Affairs and the final Friday event that offer a chance for those in need to seek help from several different agencies.
“The ministry relies heavily on volunteers to carry out its mission,” Allen continued in the letter. “I feel it is a great testimony to the kind of place this is to report there is a core of volunteers who have consistently served over 20 years.
“I urge you to consider this blessed, anointed place for the award. I have never witnessed such unconditional love in one place.”
The Secretary of State’s Office announced that Lighthouse was one of nine Angel award winners.
“This award highlights the commitment of our volunteers who serve and community and the responsible stewardship of the resources we are entrusted with,” Meggs said.
The Angels were selected by review of financial reports submitted annually to the Secretary of State’s Office, as well as by nominations from the public.
To be selected as an Angel, the charity must have devoted 80% or more of its total expenditures to charitable programs; the charity must have been in existence for three or more years; the charity must make good use of volunteer services; the charity must receive minimal funding from grants; and the charity must be in compliance with the South Carolina Solicitation of Charitable Funds Act.
Lighthouse Ministries devoted 84.2% of its total expenditures to charitable programs, according to Hammond’s office.
For more information about Lighthouse Ministries or to donate, visit lighthouseflorence.org.