Lowcountry strong: Volunteers bring food, Easter surprises to families in need

Updated: Apr. 13, 2020 at 10:47 AM EDT
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MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. (WCSC) - While many families are staying at home during the coronavirus pandemic, volunteers are stepping up to deliver food to those in need.

Some families in the Mount Pleasant area got an extra treat around the Easter holiday.

“Doing nothing isn’t an option," Stephanie Lemke said. "We want to help."

She knew there was a need for lunch to be delivered to Charleston County school families who couldn’t make it to the pick-up sites. She reached out to the district to see how she, and others, could help.

After some coordination, nutrition officer for the district, Suzanne Cottingham, figured out how to get the lunches to families in the Mt. Pleasant area.

“There are a lot of people in need and it’s very gratifying to share that and help," she added.

In addition to the lunches, Lemke and other volunteers packed nearly 200 Easter baskets, bags and buckets filled with toys and candy for these families. Some volunteers also brought extra food gathered from local grocery stores.

However, the volunteers wanted to make sure the bus driver, Sheila Gabrysh, was recognized for her work. Ms. Sheila, as she is often called, inspired them to pack the Easter baskets. She has been driving for about 30 years and is known for buying school supplies and Christmas presents for families along her route.

“She’s completely selfless and wants to be there for these kids," Lemke said.

“We just lucked out with her," Cottingham added.

Another volunteer, Lisa Mitchell, got flowers for Gabrysh and presented them to her on Friday afternoon.

“You are an amazing person and you’re the one who got all of us to do this” Mitchell said. “You are a beautiful person.”

Gabrysh was stunned and simply pointed to the sky, giving all credit to God.

“God did one miracle after another,” she said.

When asked why she gives to these kids, Gabrysh spoke through tears.

“Love,” she said with a long pause. “That’s it.”

She said she collects items like toys, backpacks and Easter baskets throughout the year and always tries to hit the sales at the right time.

If you are interested in helping with meals during this time, you can contact the Charleston County School District by clicking: here.

If you know someone or a group of people making the Lowcountry a better place during this time, you can tell us about it by filling out this form. You can also email Abbey O’Brien at and you might see them recognized on Live5News.

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