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Neighbor to Neighbor receives state nonprofit award | Strand Notebook

Neighbor to Neighbor Director Joe Kunkel received the award from Derek Lewis, a South Carolina Association of Nonprofit Organizations board member.
Neighbor to Neighbor Director Joe Kunkel received the award from Derek Lewis, a South Carolina Association of Nonprofit Organizations board member.

There are several ways that you might be able to help a local award-wining nonprofit organization in its efforts to reduce senior isolation in portions of Horry and Georgetown counties.

Neighbor to Neighbor began serving Horry and Georgetown counties in 2008 and is dedicated to promoting access to resources and programs for independent living. Operating with volunteers, Neighbor to Neighbor, a program of Grace Ministries in Myrtle Beach, provides rides to doctors’ appointments, grocery stores, hairdressers and barbers, and numerous other places for qualifying seniors who do not have transportation.

A neighbor must be over 60 and unable to drive, or over 20 and have a chronic disease or disability. They must be mobile enough to get in and out of a car with minimal assistance.

The 2000 and 2010 censuses showed that the number of seniors living in Horry County had increased by 50 percent.

In 2015, the Department of Transportation presented the Transit Provider of the Year for Human Services award to N2N. In March of this year, with more than 700 members representing thousands of employees, volunteers and donors, the South Carolina Association of Nonprofit Organizations (SCANPO) presented its most prestigious award to N2N.

N2N Executive Director Joe Kunkel accepted the Award for Nonprofit Excellence in March at SCANPO’s annual conference in Spartanburg. Kunkel said it is an extremely competitive award and requires the dedication of many team members to win.

Derek Lewis, a SCANPO board member and head of the selection committee, said, “The SCANPO award selection committee and SCANPO board are thrilled to recognize Neighbor to Neighbor for their great work. What most impressed me about this group is the board and staff’s continued commitment to self assessment and goal setting. This organization demonstrates daily that excellence in governance and management isn’t a destination, it’s an ongoing journey.”

“Receiving the Award for Excellence gives credence to the progress we’ve made and will continue to make in serving the Waccamaw regions,” said Kunkel.

“This process has strengthened our board of directors’ passion for implementing the best practices set forth by SCANPO,” he said.

Kunkel said the organization is always in need of volunteers. In addition to driving clients, volunteers are needed to help in other areas such as event planning, fundraising and more.

N2N serves well over 600 clients, added 41 in April and is working hard to expand. Kunkel said the 2000 and 2010 censuses showed that the number of seniors living in Horry County had increased by 50 percent. “It is truly astronomical,” he said.

The award shines a light on what the organization and its volunteers are striving to do to reduce senior isolation, and they are making a huge impact.

“That’s all they want,” Kunkel said of the volunteers. “They just want to make a difference.”

For more information, call 839-0702 or visit www.gracefullyaging.org.

Peggy Mishoe, pegmish@sccoast.net, 365-3885.

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