TRAVELTEER: Where Travel Meets Volunteering

1 It is nearing the end of our week here in Charleston and what a stay it has been! Every day has been filled with new adventures from the volunteer work to exploring the local sites. From the people we get to know while donating our time to the conversations we have with those all over the area – the people of Charleston are incredibly nice. In fact, Charleston as a whole just has a genuine feel of positivity and I cannot cover up the fact that I am starting to get taken away with it all.
As much as I don’t want to cut off my love letter to Charleston and make it any less endearing (“please don’t leave me,”) I know for a fact that this city wouldn’t have the same impression on me if it weren’t for the unique individuals who dedicate their time to making Charleston a better place. For the later part of this week, I have been lucky to get involved with two wonderful organizations who strive every day to feed the Charleston County area and positively impact those in need. On Tuesday, I went to One-Eighty Place, a local shelter and kitchen striving to provide hope and resources for those who are fighting hunger and homelessness. Working with an excellent group of volunteers, we managed to feed and provide hygienic products for 201 individuals. Working the kitchen line, handing out food from house made salads, tacos, and cake, as well as name brand entrée’s from Whole Foods, each person in need was greeted with a smile and a diverse meal.

2 After I finished cleaning up, I met up with Jordan and went to Folly Beach. Obviously, having a high standard being from Virginia Beach, I was worried if Charleston could join the Best Beaches in the World Club. After attempting to throw a football for a while, I have to say I was impressed! Between Folly and Sullivan Island Beach, Charleston has some amazing spots to go to for a beach bum out of… err the beach. Afterward, we went to the Artisan Meat Share, a smaller (but delicious) sandwich shop not for the vegetarian of heart. I had the Sloppy Gator, which was absolutely incredible and gave me a hint of what is to come when Travelteer arrives in New Orleans!

3 On Monday and Wednesday, we went to Low County Food Bank, a regional food bank providing food for over 250,000 people a year AND GROWING! We arrived and immediately went to work under the supervision of the Volunteer Coordinator, Kevin. We started by sorting food by weight and type and then wrapping pallets of them with saran wrap. Although it was all fun and volunteering, soon competitions became fierce between Jordan and I on who can wrap the boxes fastest (Spoiler: I won (Jordan editing. That’s a lie)). Soon enough, Kevin finally trusted us enough to use the pallet jacks, a job I felt honored and insanely nervous to live up to. Luckily, with Jordan and I working together, we managed to fill 7 orders to be delivered to food banks all over the state – some weighing up to 5,000 lbs. Some people lift weights; we lift boxes of cranberry juice. Coming back Wednesday, we were able to arrive equipped with all the skills necessary to help in the most productive way possible! We helped sort and put together orders, and talking with Kevin, we were able to establish just how vast of a need for food there is in the Low Country area and how they can utilize as many volunteers as possible! Finishing the day out, in our never-ending search to befriend Bill Murray, Kevin did provide us with a tip, “He is probably in a Waffle House somewhere.”

4 Once we were at Waffle House…only kidding! Instead, we ventured to Shem’s Creek, a local area near Mt. Pleasant and enjoyed a fantastic food recommendation – Page’s Okra Bar & Grill. I have never had Shrimp & Grits. A mistake I soon regretted and altogether didn’t regret, as I am so happy this was my first experience ever. It was probably the most amazing dish I have ever had. Following the meal, we ventured downtown to enjoy our last night in Charleston, and I could finally live my dream of playing chess in a cigar & wine bar. I ended up beating Jordan twice in a row (Jordan edit: By cheating). Lastly, we wanted to check out a local brewery in the area so we headed out to Holy City Brewery in the search for the perfect IPA. That being said – one flight later, they certainly didn’t disappoint! With our time in Charleston coming to a close, I cannot begin to fully comprehend all that has happened in the past week and am ever excited to see where Travelteer goes next!