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Palmetto Place Children's Shelter

Help Us Make a Difference in a Child’s Life.

When Your “Babies” Leave

When I took this position I knew it was going to be hard. “How do you care for a child for months, and then watch them leave?” I asked myself. Many people gave advice on how they’d handle a job like this, one where a child becomes attached to you, they call you mommy, you get attached to them, they are your babies. I heard it all “Do something special for yourself after a hard day. They’ll always remember what you did for them. Know that tomorrow there will be another child who needs the love only you can give.”

I’ve seen many kids come to Palmetto Place in my six months here. There were kids here when I started who left before I got to know them. There have been kids who came and left so quickly I never even got to introduce myself. But there are a few who have been here since I started, I’ve grown to know them and care for them on a maternal level. These are my babies.

Today, I had to say goodbye to one on my babies. It’s a bitter sweet goodbye for us both. I greet her as she gets home from school, knowing that she hasn’t been told yet. I tell her I’ve got good news, she’s going home. As she looks at me with those big doe eyes and says, “I don’t want to leave my friends at Palmetto Place” I hold back tears. I don’t want her to leave me but I know I have to be strong.

Being placed with a family member is best for her, at the same time, I feel like her family. “If I can’t be there physically to tell her how smart and kind she is, who will?” I think to myself. “How will she know that I love her if she’s not here for me to tell her?” I can feel the tears start to form and know that I’m about to lose it.

So, I squeeze her one last time, extra hard so she knows I mean it. I tell her how special she is and that I’m always with her. Whenever she is missing her friends at Palmetto Place all she needs to do is close her eyes and relive her memories. (Deep down inside that little piece of advice was really for myself.)  I watch her walk out the front door, get into the car, and back out of the driveway. I feel a little hand grab mine, I’m pulled back to reality as a 6-year-old boy says, “I’ll miss her too.” I’m reminded that I’m still needed here, still needed by him, and that in my time at this job I will have more babies than I ever thought I could. 


Written by Grace Bennett
Project Coordinator

Thank YOU!

We cannot thank you enough for making our annual Golf Tournament & Silent Auction a success! With your support we were able to raise $26,000 for Palmetto Place!

This money helps us provide kids with much more than food and shelter. We’re able to make sure kids can participate in after school activities, go to the fair, get a Halloween costume, celebrate birthdays, Christmas and many other milestones and so much more throughout the year!

We want to thank everyone who came out and made this weekend so successful! Special thanks to our donors, sponsors, volunteers and chefs!

Eagle Sponsors

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Birdie Sponsors

aetna GetAttachment 116 logoPPI stacked Terminix-Green-Logo-no-bkgrnd

In-Kind Sponsors

tpPepsi Sysco

Safe & Dry

Update, Thursday, Oct. 7, 2015

Palmetto Place is very fortunate to have fared well through the flooding. We’ve had water damage to our office and we, like many others, are on a boil water advisory, which could last for some time. We are so grateful to everyone who has provided food and water, plus activities for all of our kids.

Our fundraisers will go on as scheduled and we hope you will continue to support us as we care for kids in need. Please see our events page for details. If you’d like to make a donation, please visit our donation page.

Thank you again for all you’ve done to support us through this situation.

water delivery


Monday, Oct. 5, 2015

So many of you have checked on us through email, Facebook and Twitter and we are so appreciative to have such great friends! We are safe and dry. We have water and power. Most importantly, we have amazing houseparents who have weathered the storm with our kids – all of whom have been very patient. We stocked the house with food on Friday to help out this weekend. Our houseparents cooked a huge lunch and dinner Sunday and we just keep going.

At this moment, we do not have any specific needs but thanks to those of you who have reached out! We’ll keep you posted if anything changes and if we have needs.

We’re very grateful to all of the emergency personnel who are working so hard to put our city back together.

Palmetto Place Children’s Shelter Joins the Global #GivingTuesday Movement




Columbia, SC, October 1st, 2015 – Palmetto Place has joined #GivingTuesday, a global day of giving that harnesses the collective power of individuals, communities and organizations to encourage philanthropy and to celebrate generosity worldwide Occurring this year on December 1, #GivingTuesday is held annually on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving (in the U.S.) and the widely recognized shopping events Black Friday and Cyber Monday to kick-off the holiday giving season and inspire people to collaborate in improving their local communities and to give back in impactful ways to the charities and causes they support.


“We have been incredibly inspired by the generosity in time, efforts and ideas that have brought our concept for a worldwide movement into reality,” said Henry Timms, founder of #GivingTuesday. “As we embark on our fourth year of #GivingTuesday, we are encouraged by the early response from partners eager to continue making an impact in this global conversation.”

Those who are interested in joining Palmetto Place’s #GivingTuesday initiative can visit our donations page starting Nov. 1st 2015. For more details about the #GivingTuesday movement, visit the #GivingTuesday website (, Facebook page ( or follow @GivingTues and the #GivingTuesday hashtag on Twitter.


About #GivingTuesday

#GivingTuesday is a movement to celebrate and provide incentives to give—the 2015 iteration will be held on December 1, 2015. This effort harnesses the collective power of a unique blend of partners—nonprofits, businesses and corporations as well as families and individuals—to transform how people think about, talk about and participate in the giving season. #GivingTuesday inspires people to take collaborative action to improve their local communities, give back in better, smarter ways to the charities and causes they celebrate and help create a better world. #GivingTuesday harnesses the power of social media to create a global moment dedicated to giving around the world.

To learn more about #GivingTuesday participants and activities or to join the celebration of giving, please visit:


September is Hunger Action Month


Did you know that 1 in 6 people struggle to get enough to eat? What about the fact that food insecurities are particularly harmful to children?

Many people think hunger is directly influenced by poverty. Although related, food insecurity and poverty are not the same. Poverty in the United States is only one of many factors associated with food insecurity. In fact, higher unemployment, lower household assets, and certain demographic characteristics also lead to a lack of access to adequate, nutritious food.

In the United States today, 15 million children face hunger. Consequently, one in five kids are facing greater obstacles to reaching their fullest potential. The future of America lies in our children. When hunger threatens the future of a child, it threatens the future of our nation as well.

Food insecurity is harmful to all people, but it is particularly devastating to children due to their increased vulnerability and the potential for long-term consequences. Proper nutrition is critical to a child’s development. Not having enough of the right kinds of food can have serious implications for a child’s physical and mental health, academic achievement and future economic prosperity. Unfortunately, food insecurity is an obstacle that threatens that critical foundation. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), in 2012, 15.9 million children under 18 in the United States live in households where they are unable to consistently access enough nutritious food necessary for a healthy life

While hunger has no boundaries, it does impact some communities more than others. African Americans are more than twice as likely to suffer from food insecurity as their white, non-Hispanic counterparts. The Latino population in the United States has nearly doubled in the past decade and continues to grow. Currently, Latino and African American communities are disproportionately impacted by food insecurity, poverty and unemployment.

According to a 2012 study, there are 807,960 people in South Carolina who face food insecurity, 292,840 of those are children. As a state, 28% of children do not know when or what their next meal will be. Right here in Columbia 20% of children go hungry.

But there are ways you can help. Palmetto Place become home to some of these hungry children. In addition to providing a save shelter, and clothing we also feed 20 kids three times a day. On a weekly basis we use 7 gallons of milk, 30 pieces of chicken, 5 boxes of cereal and sometimes more than 15 boxes of after school snacks. The best way you can help during Hunger Action Month is by picking up gift cards next time you are at the store. Our house parents shop at local grocery stores during the week to make sure our kids get fresh meat, fruits, and veggies. So, next time you go grocery shopping, keep Palmetto Place on your list.

September is Hunger Action Month

For more information on hunger check out these fact sheets-

Hunger and Poverty Face Sheet

Child Hunger Fact Sheet

African American Hunger Fact Sheet

Latino Hunger Fact Sheet


Columbia, SC (September 1, 2015) – Yoga Reaches Out South Carolina will host a meditation on the South Carolina State House grounds on Friday, September 11 at 7:00 a.m. The free Unity Through Yoga event is designed to promote unity and share the benefits of meditation with the public. Local yoga instructor Pamela Meriwether will lead the session, and hot “uni-tea” will be available to attendees following the meditation. The event will conclude by 7:30 a.m.




Yoga Reaches Out (YRO) is a 501(c)(3) public charity that makes a difference in the lives of children by raising funds for children’s organizations through yoga events. YRO was founded by personal trainer and yogi Sarah Gardner of Wayland, Massachusetts.


Yoga Reaches Out South Carolina will hold its first Yogathon at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center on Sunday, October 11, 2015 to raise funds for Palmetto Place Children’s Shelter and Achieve Columbia. Honorary Chairs for this inaugural event include Governor Nikki Haley, University of South Carolina President Harris Pastides and Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin.


Renowned yoga leader Rolf Gates and five local yoga presenters will guide yogis in practice and to celebrate seva, the concept of selfless service central to yogic traditions. More information is available on the Yoga Reaches Out website.

Contact: Jessica Lathren, Yoga Reaches Out South Carolina

Tel: 803.727.4802 or


What Does Home Feel Like?

“The known smells, sounds, sights, and feel of home let our brains relax and rejuvenate. It’s a key part of why ‘There’s no place like home.’”

When I saw this tweet from Amelia Franck Meyer (@alfranckmeyer), can you guess the first thing that came to mind?

If you know me, you know my mind went to the smell of food. My very first thought was of the smell of bacon as I walk into Palmetto Place in the morning. Ms. Matilda and Ms. LaConte cook some great breakfasts and the bacon smell is a great way to start the morning.

Amelia knows what she’s talking about – she knows kids and she knows kids who’ve experienced trauma. She’s the CEO of Anu Family Services in Wisconsin and Minnesota and a guru at well-being for kids and taking care of kids who are in out-of-home care, just like our kids. When she speaks, I listen, because what she says is important and crucial for the right care of kids who’ve experienced trauma.

So, let’s talk about the five senses of home.



Bacon in the mornings! And laundry – the almost nonstop smell of laundry. I love that clean smell!



I can mark the time in the afternoons by the sound of the kids on the basketball court. It means they’re home from school. It means I get to take a work break and go play for a few minutes and see how the day was at school. It’s 15 minutes that I can connect with kids as they unwind. I will always remember one particular middle schooler who started playing at exactly 3:45 every day all by himself. It was his way to relax and think through the day. I learned a lot from him.



Endless smiles. That’s what comes to mind. We have smiles in the mornings before school! Okay, truth – that’s mostly elementary school kids. Middle schoolers, well, they’re a little grumpy. High schoolers, they’re so independent that they’re just out the door. If you have kids, you know!

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There’s a lot to see at Palmetto Place. There are older kids helping younger kids, houseparents and volunteers helping kids with homework or playing games or reading. To walk through the house on any given afternoon is a treat. It is a house buzzing with activity. It is kids being kids.



Ask the kids and they will tell you their favorite foods! Ms. Gloria’s spaghetti, Ms. Jenny’s baked chicken, Ms. Betty’s shrimp fried rice, Ms. Jill’s Christmas Eve dinner and on and on and on. Ask kids and adults who once lived at Palmetto Place and they’ll have their own memories of food they loved.



A wise friend taught me something very smart years ago. Hugs, high fives and handshakes. As her kids enter her classroom each morning, they get to choose one. I borrowed this from her – that’s the highest form of flattery, right?

Hugs, high fives and handshakes are what all kids need, but especially kids who’ve experienced trauma, abuse, neglect. I’m a big fan of a hug. I hug every kid who wants a hug. New kids who’ve just arrived at Palmetto Place are understandably standoffish at first. Who is this woman and these other adults and all these kids who want to be my friend? Who can I trust? And after a day or so, after they’ve seen other kids give hugs, then they want in on the hugs and the high fives! That first hug is always a little hesitant. But then it becomes a giant group hug.

Touch. It’s how kids learn to connect with others. It’s a part of learning to trust. It’s a part of accepting love.

IMG_2281 shoe boxes

Since it’s the first week of school, there are other parts of the sense of touch on my mind too. The feel of those brand new shoes. Carrying a brand new backpack to school. Writing with a newly sharpened pencil on that smooth new composition notebook. Everyone’s new haircuts! Thank you InnerSole, FiA Midlands, AFLAC, TD Bank and many others for providing shoes, school supplies and much more!)


Do you see a pattern? All of these memories through senses – they are the feel of home. And there’s no place like home. When home isn’t a safe place, there is Palmetto Place.

~ Erin Hall, Executive Director

Kevin’s day off


Monday marked the first day of school for our children… well, everyone except Kevin. Kevin was thrilled to have the whole big house and all of the houseparents’ attention to himself today. He said that he woke up later than everyone else – and it “ROCKED!”

Later, he took his two new favorite toys, Batman and Spiderman, and the three of them played a rousing game of pick-up basketball (it was a close game, but Kevin made a last-second three point shot to win against the plastic figurines).

After basketball, Kevin went on an adventure with the houseparents; getting him registered for school. As he walked up to the elementary school he was nervous; starting a new school year is never easy. After getting the paperwork filled out Kevin wanted to meet his new teacher. Although he can’t remember her name, he said, “She seems really nice. I’m excited about fourth grade even if I’m going to have to learn multiplication!” He was starting to feel better about starting school when he heard a familiar voice. Darting down the hall and around a corner he saw his favorite substitute teacher!

On their way home from running errands he asked if he could get his favorite lunch, McDonalds and chocolate milk! He ate lunch with some staff members, something he doesn’t normally get to do when all the kids are home. He expressed a little apprehension about having to take timed multiplication tests, but quickly talked himself out of it when he realized how smart he would be once he mastered multiplication.

Though he was excited to get back to school to see his friends, what was even more exciting was that this afternoon, he got to pick whatever channel he wanted on TV. Unrestricted by “all those girls” to choose a suitable movie, Kevin was able to kick back and watch Cars, and took up as much room on the couch as he wanted. As Cars came to its denouement, Kevin realized he had done everything he had wanted to do in his day off. Luckily, just then, the van with the other kids pulled into the driveway and they came barreling into the house, wide-ruled notebooks and #2 pencils flying.

Kevin loved the peace and quiet of the morning, but by the end of the day he was thankful for the usual hustle, bustle and chatter. He was thrilled to have the other kids back around – those he has come to consider his family – so he could hear their stories of new classrooms, new teachers and old friends on the playground. By the end of the school day, Kevin couldn’t wait to begin his own school journey tomorrow (even if he does have to learn multiplication). We wish for you and yours the same that we wish for all our children – a happy and healthy start to the school year! We can’t wait to see what this year brings!

Golf Tournament & Silent Auction October 18 & 19

Join us Sunday, October 18, 2015 for our Tournament Party & Silent Auction at The Windermere Club in Blythewood, SC (1101 Longtown Road East)! We will have a great silent auction, hors d’eouvres, music by the Three Peace Band and much more. Our annual golf tournament follows on Monday, October 19.

To register a golf team, click here.

To purchase individual tickets to the Golf Tournament Party, click here.

To purchase couples’ tickets to the Golf Tournament Party, click here.

Windermere photo
Schedule of Events:

Sunday, October 18, 2015
6 – 9 pm               Hors d’oeuvres and Silent Auction at The Windermere Club featuring the Three Peace band

Monday, October 19, 2015
9 – 9:30 am         Range opens for practice
10 am                    Tournament begins (box lunches to be delivered along the course)
2 – 3 pm               Golfers finish; Awards presentation

Attire for Sunday: For men, anything from khakis & polos to suits! Women – casual dresses to cocktail dresses – an array of everything!

Then, enjoy a day of golf at The Windermere Club, Monday, October 19, 2015! Participants will receive a golf shirt, lunch, open bar and be eligible for great prizes. Whether it’s playing on a team, sponsoring a hole or donating raffle prizes, there’s room for everyone to support the kids at Palmetto Place.

This year’s party will feature these great chefs:

  • Chef Vinnie and Daniel Livoti- “Peking Duck” Filo Cups
  • Chef Lawrence Wright with Southern Foodservice Management– Sweet-Tea Brined Pulled Pork with Pickled Radish and Beet Slaw and Rosemary Cornbread
  • Chef Ryan Whitaker with @116 Espresso and Wine Bar – Fig & Goat Cheese Flatbreads, Sun Dried Tomato in Phyllo, Dolmas with Stuffed Cherry Peppers, Feta and Olives
  • Chef Darlene Bell with Cake Professor – Mini Cupcakes
  • Chef Chris at The Windermere Club – Shrimp & Grits
  • Sysco Columbia – Fruit & Cheese Platter, Brownies, Chocolate Chip Blondies

This year, Dixon Golf will be sponsoring the Par 3 and Par 5 challenges. Find out more about Dixon Golf here.

This tournament would not be possible without our sponsors! If you’re interested in sponsoring the 2015 tournament, please contact Erin Hall at

Eagle Sponsors

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Birdie Sponsors



116 logoPPI stacked


In-Kind Sponsors


Not All Heroes Wear Capes

October 23 – Update – WE DID IT! We hit our $1 million goal! Thank you to everyone who has contributed to make our dreams come true. Soon we can expand and be able to serve and help more children and teens.
Check out the story here on Cola Daily:
And while we’ve hit our goal, we are still raising money! We know construction will cost more than a million so we will just keep on going! You can help us reduce any loan debt we’d have to take on. Here’s how you can donate:
Check out the news stories by WLTX and WIS on our campaign!
Midlands Shelter to Take in More Homeless, Abused Kids (WLTX)

Watch WIS’s story, Palmetto Place to Expand, Making Room for More Abused, Neglected Children, here!

Since 1977, more than 7,000 kids of all ages have come through our front door. And now it’s time to welcome even more kids into our home. It’s time for us to grow – and we need your help.

Children like Anthony and Hailey don’t often have heroes. You may think their tragic story couldn’t happen here in the Midlands, but it did. Fortunately, YOU can be a hero!

When police entered their house, the first thing they noticed was the garbage piled high. Needles and other drug paraphernalia on a torn sofa. Anthony and Hailey were huddled together in a corner—no parent was in sight.

At Palmetto Place, Anthony and Hailey found a safe, nurturing home filled with love. Counseling helped them cope, and mentors helped them catch up in school and succeed.

But last month alone, we had to turn away 20 children in need. We just didn’t have the space. You can change that. You can be the hero children like Anthony and Hailey desperately need.

Palmetto Place’s Saving More Children campaign will renovate and expand Palmetto Place. Your gift will increase our number of beds by 50% and save more children from despair. Today, you can impact generations to come. Every day, we are getting closer to our $1 million goal to fund construction costs. Generous individuals and organizations in the Midlands have already given more than $900,000!

Will you to join them—to say “I’m here to help you” to the most vulnerable children right here in the Midlands?

You can give online at (choose Saving More Children under Gift Type), or mail a check to Palmetto Place at PO Box 3395, Columbia, SC 29230.

Will you join us in Saving More Children and making changes that will last a lifetime?

We’re excited to be working with The Winkler Group, Lambert Architecture, Hood Construction and GMK Associates on this capital campaign, expansion and renovation. We’ll be sharing more details soon so be sure to check out this page plus Facebook and Twitter.


© copyright 2013 Palmetto Place