Head of care coalition to step downPublished 7:35pm Friday, December 20, 2013
He started the Washington Community Care Coalition as a way to give back to his community. It was a fair exchange.
“The community is what kept my business going and I wanted to give back to my community,” said Thornton Gorham Jr., former owner of Gorham Automotive and founder of WCCC.
For 32 years, the organization has pitched in where assistance was needed, be it food, supplies or money. WCCC has helped some residents pay utility bills, water bills and rent; contributed to the Red Cross’ hurricane disaster relief program; given monetary support to victims of fire; handed out backpacks full of school supplies to children in need.
And after 32 years, Gorham will step down as the organization’s leader at the end of the year. Whether the organization will continue without him is unknown at this point, Gorham said.
“There’s so many doing the same thing now,” he said. “When I first started, the Salvation Army was the only one doing it.”
Gorham said that in three decades, all WCCC giving has been the product of fundraising and donations from the public — in only three years of the organization’s existence did it receive funding from local government. According to Gorham, funds are getting harder to come by.
“Help is hard to get. Donations are down, but I think they’re down everywhere on that,” Gorham said.
This year, WCCC’s Christmas giving has been downsized, Gorham said. Whereas in previous years, big boxes of food were given away, now WCCC is focusing its efforts on Meals on Wheels. Through Beaufort County Department of Social Services, WCCC will be donating 250 meals to those in need. Another 70 fruit baskets will go to nursing home residents and other provisions will be distributed to needy families in the community.
As for Gorham, once the New Year rings in, he’s not sure where his path will lead him.
“It’s whatever God directs me to do,” Gorham smiled. “I don’t know that right at this moment.”