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Former South Congaree Events Committee forms community events group

South Congaree, SC (Paul Kirby) - The former events committee chair and committee members for the Town of South Congaree have decided to start a community group in and around the town that will do much of what they did during the town’s past administration. Sylvia Drennan recently said that when committee members were told they would all be let go at the end of the year they still had so much to give. That’s why she and other former members decided they would start South Congaree Cares. 

Drennan said that at the September, 2020 meeting of the South Congaree Events Committee the town’s newly elected Mayor Cindy Campbell attended and listened as they laid out their entire plans for the coming year. Then, she informed all the volunteers they were being let go after December. Drennan said that Campbell cited nepotism as one reason. Drennan’s husband Jim was recently elected to town council. “She also told us people that live outside the town would no longer be able to serve on South Congaree’s committees and boards. We all enjoyed serving the community in these volunteer positions,” Drennan said during a recent interview. “We got so much fulfilment out of seeing the smiles on people faces, especially the big smiles on children when we organized events like the Christmas parade; we knew it was something we wanted to keep doing.”

Drennan said South Congaree Cares will be almost identical to the old events committee with one or two exceptions. “We don't care if you live outside the town limits,” Drennan said. “We feel like if you associate South Congaree as home in your heart, an invisible line on the ground shouldn't matter.” She also said, “We wanted help in the past and just weren't finding that inside the town. We welcomed area residents who lived in the surrounding community because that’s who was willing to help. With South Congaree Cares, many of the old members can stay on.” 

When asked about financing South Congaree Cares Drennan said, “We understand that the town will not provide money for us, but we will raise money and put on events we know the community will enjoy,” Drennan continued. “When we were associated with the town getting things approved could sometimes be a slow process. By being separate from the town, our committee members will be able to make decisions that don’t require approval. I feel like the committee’s members are breathing a sigh of relief knowing that if we give 100% of ourselves, we won’t need to worry about pleasing the five-members of council.”

She pointed out that new decorations bought in late 2019 and 2020 were purchased with money that the South Congaree Business Association raised specifically for the Special Events Committee. “I'm not sure exactly what’s going to happen to those things or where the rest of the money raised is right now,” Drennan said. “The businessmen did that with the Turkey Sale at Thanksgiving and we spent a part of it. When I recently asked the mayor how much she thought was left, I was told she wasn’t aware of any money set aside from fundraising. That’s disappointing, but not that big a deal.” 

Drennan went on to say that several members of the South Congaree Committee spent out of their pockets last year on events. She also said through the kindness of citizens and with the help of some fund raising, money should not be a big issue. She added, “A lot of us already have access to things we need at home or through area churches to put on some great events. I'm sure more will come. We’ll let the Lord handle that.”    

Drennan said that at their September meeting, Mayor Campbell asked the committee members to stay on through the 2020 Christmas Parade and Carol Lighting. “At this point we plan to do those because we would hate to see the community suffer. We're going to put 100% of ourselves into planning those because we just don't do things any other way.” 

With Christmas fast approaching, Drennan said that Mayor Campbell had expressed some desire to decorate the town for Christmas herself in 2020. That was something the committee did in 2019. “I’m sure she’ll do a great job,” Drennan said. “We wish we had her help last year, it’s a lot of hard work. She has some nice, new decorations we bought that she should be able to work with.”  

According to Drennan, South Congaree Cares has already received permission from the Lexington Medical Center to use their property located at Ramblin and Main Street for future events. She said that when she asked, the hospital’s management was gracious, providing them a letter granting that. She also said, “Since the town doesn’t own the arena, I feel sure we will be able to have events there like in the past by simply getting permission from the recreation commission,” she continued. She also pointed out the park next to the town hall is also managed by the Lexington County Recreation and Aging Commission. Several 2019 events were held in that park and access to it is open to anyone. 

Drennan said that in 2021 the community can expect to see lots of family-oriented events put on by South Congaree Cares in and around the town. “We're going to bring back some of the things that were a success in the past and we already have a full slate of events that we planned while working with South Congaree for next year. Just wait, we have some great surprises in store!” 

If you would like to be a part of South Congaree Cares give Sylvia Drennan a call at (803) 331-3319. “We don’t care where you live. If you want to help make people happy, give us a call and come on down.”

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