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The Deep Well Project: Islanders helping islanders

The Deep Well Project is on the front lines, providing basic services and emergency assistance in our community.

Photography by Mike Ritterbeck

MISSION: “To help neighbors in need by providing basic assistance in emergency situations. This assistance is immediate and non-bureaucratic, intended to provide clients with a hand up, not a hand out.”

HISTORY: A predominantly volunteer-based nonprofit, with a minimum of paid staff, Deep Well has been helping islanders since 1973. The organization was founded by Charlotte Heinrichs as a service to the local community which had suffered illness as a result of drinking contaminated water from shallow wells. Over the decades, other needs evolved and so did Deep Well.

WHO IT HELPS: Local people in emergency situations. It could be a rent payment between jobs, or food for the family when the cupboard runs bare and cash has all but run out. It could be for school uniforms for children, to repair a floor, or build a much-needed wheelchair ramp. The nonprofit provides groceries year round and offers special holiday meals. It also hosts many special events and programs that benefit the community.

HOW TO HELP: Volunteer to work in the office or food pantry. Deep Well also maintains a list of people it can call on who are willing to do a variety of jobs that don’t occur on a regular basis, such as driving a client to a medical appointment or helping shop for clothing and shoes. The non-profit always is in need of volunteers who can help pick up donated furniture. Handymen and Spanish-speaking volunteers are coveted.

Donate with cash, check or credit card. The project depends solely on the generosity of individuals, churches, civic and service organizations, the United Way of the Lowcountry, Bargain Box, Heritage Golf Foundation and the Community Foundation of the Lowcountry. No government funds are used. More than 90 percent of a contribution goes directly to program services.

More information on the Deep Well Project: 843-785-2849 or visit