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HOPE honors volunteers at annual banquet

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By Jesef Williams

For 25 years, many locals have worked tirelessly to ensure HOPE of Lancaster is able to assist those in need in the community.

HOPE, which stands for Helping Other People Effectively, puts on an annual banquet as a way to show appreciation for its volunteers. This year’s banquet was held Tuesday night at the University of South Carolina at Lancaster’s Bradley Building.

“Without the volunteers, HOPE could not function, HOPE could not operate,” said Jim Bull, president of HOPE, which provides food, rent and utilities assistance to county residents. “We want to thank each and every one of you.”

Though not as many volunteers as planned were at the banquet, there were still more than enough people on hand to create a true feeling of community. Attendees were treated to dinner, dessert and singing by Toby Taylor, whose performance included “Amazing Grace.”

Taylor said that song was perfect for the occasion.

“It takes a lot of God’s grace for things like this to happen,” Taylor said.

Before the banquet ended, HOPE executive director Elaine Adkins and others awarded dozens of prizes to volunteers in who came. The ultimate gift was a weekend getaway to Springmaid Mountain.

Peggy McDonald, a HOPE volunteer since 1983, said she always appreciates the recognition dinner.

McDonald is one of four members of Belair United Methodist Church in Indian Land who raise money for HOPE and regularly take food to the agency. She said she’s glad to be part of an something that has remained strong through the years.

“It’s an opportunity to give back a little bit of what God has given to me,” McDonald said about volunteering.

Special recognition

Adkins presented James Bradley with a special plaque Tuesday night. Bradley was HOPE’s first president.

Adkins said Bradley believed in HOPE and has put his heart into it since its early stages.

“Lancaster County is a better place to live because of people like him,”  Adkins said.

Bradley was modest in his acceptance.

“The success of HOPE has been the people in the room tonight, it wasn’t Jim Bradley,” he said. “I think you all for all that you do for HOPE.”

To become a HOPE volunteer or to donate to the agency, call 286-4673.

– Contact reporter Jesef Williams at 283-1152