Local businesses help churches and USO with sales donations.



Each month, Jo Stutts and Phil Heilker at Mama's Furniture send out more than 100 checks to local churches and the USO. This money comes from donations the store makes based on each customer's purchase. When you buy something at the Beaufort store, they'll ask if you'd like them to donate directly to your church or the USO- and we get the money.


In these hard times, with many contributors drying up, it is good-hearted donors such as area businesses that can make such a difference in the outreach efforts of a church. To date, Mama's Furniture has donated $66,055.00 to churches and the USO.


Here at Orange Grove Baptist, we use the monthly "Mama's Money" to help support programs for our church youth and elderly. Great or small, a donation always makes a difference.


Did you know that the Savannah USO buys 83,000 bottles of water every year to give military men and women shipping out through Savannah International airport.That's a lot of water - but ask any Beaufort Marine or Ft. Stewart soldier if that water makes a difference and you'll get a loud YES SIR! Mitchell Bush, who runs the Savannah USO, said he used his checks from Mama's Furniture to help buy that water.


It's good to give - but it can be hard to give when the economy is so tight. non-profits and charitable organizations across the country are seeing donations drop -which makes any contribution that much more valued.


When I talk to Mr. Heilker, he says it's all about giving back to the communities that keep his businesses thriving.  His customers enjoy a certain quality of life in Beaufort, and you can't put a price tag on some of those qualities - but a little extra cash can go a long way to help the one of our churches, and then they help make our community a little nicer. It all comes around.


With every sale, Mama's Furniture employees ask the customer if they have a specific church they'd like to receive their transaction's donation. Now, this isn't an extra cost on the customer - this comes out of Mama's Furniture's profits. If the customer has a preference, the donation is earmarked for their church. They keep an active list of 300 churches and each month write about 100 checks to these churches, plus one to the USO.


There is a  Mama's Furniture store in downtown Beaufort. His store has really helped the Savannah USO get phone cards and buy bottled water and hygiene products in support of the men and women in our armed services as they travel in harm's way.


Mr Bush, who runs the Savannah USO, says it's been the support of small businesses such as Mama's Furniture that allows the USO to do all the good things they do, including keeping the reception room at Savannah International Airport for our service men and women. Donations let them put TVs and computers in the reception room to help make it comfortable as Marines and Soldiers prepare to ship out.


Having the support of businesses like Mama's Furniture has made a huge difference to us and other churches in the area. I wanted to take a moment to thank them for their monthly contributions, and to applaud them for their work to make  Beaufort a better place to live.


By Rev. William Carpenter
Orange Grove Baptist Church