AP NEWS

The Gifting Tree Foundation plans to help people in need and other charities locally

February 23, 2019

When talking about The Gifting Tree Foundation, a new nonprofit serving Aiken and surrounding communities, Don Cheeks uses the words local and locally.

“The purpose is to help local people in need and support other local charities,” he said. “All of the decisions will be made locally.”

Cheeks, who is the owner, president and CEO of Southeastern Tool Company Inc., founded The Gifting Tree last November.

The organization has a 19-member board of directors, and he is the chairman.

“We do not have any overhead whatsoever,” Cheeks said.

“There is no brick-and-mortar facility, and everybody involved in The Gifting Tree is a volunteer.”

In addition to Cheeks, board members include Lyddie Hansen, Monica Key, Danny Minolfo and Dr. Nick Sanito.

“Every one of our board members has compassion for helping others,” Cheeks said.

Cheeks previously was involved in American Red Cross activities for approximately 20 years. He was the board chairman in Aiken, and also was on the board of the Central South Carolina Chapter, which is based in Columbia.

During his experiences with the Red Cross and several other nonprofits, Cheeks noticed there were a number of problems in the Aiken area that weren’t being addressed. He also found that, in some cases, people in state and regional offices were determining how funds raised here would be spent.

“I just decided I wanted to do more locally and offer additional assistance to what is already being provided,” Cheeks said.

The eighth annual Aiken Oyster Roast will be held from 6 to 10 p.m Saturday, March 2, at the Aiken Fairgrounds, and the proceeds will go to The Gifting Tree.

Tickets are $60 each.

They can be purchased at Lionel Smith Ltd., Vaportek USA and the All American Barber Shop.

Tickets also can be obtained by calling 803-642-2937.

For more information, visit aikenoysterroast.com.

In addition, The Gifting Tree is seeking donations and volunteers to serve on its committees.

“We’re starting out on the ground floor, so we need all the help we can get,” Cheeks said.

For more information about The Gifting Tree, call Cheeks at 803-649-4127 or 803-507-7602.

There is Gifting Tree Foundation page on Facebook.