Kenneth Smith Named To S.C. Habitat For Humanity Board

Kenneth Smith of the Dillon County Long Term Recovery Group has been named to the South Carolina Habitat For Humanity Board of Directors.

Smith is well-known throughout the area for his work in disaster recovery.
In November 2015, portions of South Carolina were affected by floods. Dillon and Marion Counties were both distressed by excessive water. Smith responded by purchasing supplies with his own funds and delivering them to Dillon and Marion Counties. Cleaning supplies, food, ice etc. were delivered through churches to residents.
Smith organized a benefit concert in January 2016. Can goods, dry goods and water were donated and given to residents. Hurricane Matthew hit the Carolinas in October 2016.
Smith responded again by helping different communities with his own funds. His name became recognized as someone willing to help those in need.
Smith was invited to a community meeting wherein local elected officials had gathered to brainstorm and establish a way to organize efforts to respond to disaster.
Smith was asked to take the charge of efforts for Dillon County. He accepted the challenge and the Dillon County Long Term Recovery Group was established.
In the beginning there were many obstacles in establishing a structured board and gaining support. Meetings were held at the local library.
Initially many people showed up. They thought it would be seasonal; but Kenneth’s vision was much more long term.
Eventually, the volunteer numbers dwindled. Finally seven people agreed to be founding board members. Board meetings were held, plans were established and they began to strategize.
Smith went to several other areas to see what was being done.
The information that he gathered was modified to suit the needs of Dillon County. He reached out and started establishing partnerships.
Harvest Hope Food Bank was instrumental in the beginning for support efforts for mobile food pantries in Dillon County.
Smith was fortunate to be able to attend a state level disaster function where he met Mary Louise Reuch. She has since become his mentor.
The Dillon County Long Term Recovery Group continues to grow and reach out to establish strong bonds with other agencies. First and foremost is the drive to continue to provide “Readiness, Relief and Recovery before, during and after a Disaster.”
The Dillon County Long Term Recovery Group Sponsored a Giveaway in the Community on December 21, 2019. A local senior citizen came to the drive and was able to obtain food and hygiene supplies. While there, she spoke with
Smith about the possibility of assistance with heat for her home. When the drive was over, Smith and another member of the Board of Directors made a visit to her home. The home was extremely cold. There were drop cords being used throughout the home due to the fact that several outlets were not functioning. The resident showed the two her bedroom where she spent most of her time. Inside was a very small desk heater that she used to keep her bedroom warm. She shared information about a son that lived on the West Coast. She went to visit him, while she was gone her home was vandalized. Her heating and cooling unit was stripped of copper wire. She has not had the funds to make repairs. Her son had been sick and out of work. He was not in a position to assist her. She was doing the best she could. Smith went to a local store and purchased two heaters for her and brought them back to her home. He conducted a brief assessment of her home and is in the process of seeking home repair assistance on her behalf.
Smith has made networking one of his main objectives in pursuit of aid for the residents of Dillon County. He has reached out to the local newspapers, television stations and local officials for support. He has been interviewed by Bloomberg News as well as several others. Mr. Smith is always seeking an opportunity to garner support and establish partnerships to strengthen his cause.
He attends meetings of state level organizations such as the South Carolina Disaster Recovery Organization. He has partnered with numerous organizations.
Kenneth is proud of a most recent endeavor with Habitat for Humanity and the possibilities for the citizens of Dillon County.