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Painted chairs auction raises thousands for Tybee Island food pantry

Updated: Jun. 6, 2021 at 6:11 PM EDT
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TYBEE ISLAND, Ga. (WTOC) - Folks on Tybee Island created a Chairs for Charity event to benefit the island’s food pantry. They set a fundraising goal that they thought might be a stretch. Instead, they exceeded all of their expectations.

“It’s typical of Tybee. I mean, Tybee people give to help Tybee people,” said Liz Hood, supervisor of Visit Tybee.

Even though it might seem typical, event organizer Hood was still stunned at the generosity of her community.

“We thought $5,000 was going to be a stretch goal and then when we got to almost $10,000 we thought ‘You know, maybe we’ll hit $10,000,’” she said.

Chairs for Charity began when Hood developed a knack for repurposing old chairs. In order to have something fun to do during the COVID-19 pandemic, she and other local artists came together and auctioned off their painted chairs to benefit the island’s food pantry.

“It’s such a wonderful gift and blessing just to be able to know that you have a reserve to fall back on,” said Roxy Hogan, a volunteer with Rising Tyde Food Pantry.

What was the total? The auction raised more than $11,000 for the pantry. This is an amount of money Hogan says could support the pantry for an entire year.

“It enables us to do so much,” she said.

Hogan says they can buy things like cooling blankets to keep their food fresh in the summer heat during their food drives and they’ll be able to buy all of the necessary food items they need to support the community’s needs.

“It’s just a continuous need,” she said.

It’s important for the pantry to be stocked up this time of year because Hogan says children can’t rely on getting food at school. It’s also hurricane season, so the pantry needs to be prepared to help if disaster strikes.

“They may have lost so much, til they are going to be in need, they have to come,” Hogan said.

At the auction, Hood says three of the painted chairs sold for more than $1,000 a piece.

Chairs for Charity is already scheduled to return next year on the Saturday before Mother’s Day. The organizers are looking for any sturdy, unused chairs and are looking to raise a whopping $17,000.

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