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CLASS donates funds to CMCKC, FFTS
CLASS Donations
Surrounded by members of CLASS -- the Camden-Lugoff Area Shag Society -- representatives from the Community Medical Clinic of Kershaw County and Food for the Soul accept checks for $3,100 each from the shag enthusiasts on July 25 on Camden’s Town Green. CLASS raised the money during its annual shag blast, held this year on June 15. - photo by Martin L. Cahn/C-I

The Camden-Lugoff Area Shag Society (CLASS) held its annual CLASS Shag Blast on June 15 -- the club’s annual fund raiser to support non-profit organizations providing key services to Kershaw County residents.

On July 25, CLASS donated $3,100 each to the Community Medical Clinic of Kershaw County (CMCKC) and Food for the Soul (FFTS).

“CLASS is proud to help support such fantastic organizations that provide a great service to Kershaw County residents,” CLASS representative Ray Amyette said. “CLASS has donated $59,000 to service organizations in Kershaw County since 2005. The next CLASS Shag Blast is June 20, 2020. Put that date on your calendar. We have already sold almost half of the reserved tables.”

Amyette said CLASS’s donation to the CMCKC reflects its work as “a family practice medical clinic with a big mission.” Its main service is to provide free healthcare to uninsured residents of Kershaw County. In recent years, it has expanded that mission to include leading a collaborative effort to improve population health in the community. Its goal is to make Kershaw County the healthiest county in the state. In addition to its main facility in Camden, the CMCKC has satellite offices in Kershaw, Cassatt, Bethune, Lugoff and Elgin. It also has a School Based Healthcare Center (SBHC) open to all North Central high and middle school students.

In addition, the CMCKC has a transitional care program in collaboration with KershawHealth. CMCKC nurses visit KershawHealth and meet with patients who don’t have insurance. Patients can then fill out a CMCKC application and schedule a follow-up appointment. This allows the CMCKC to become a medical home for patients in need.

Amyette said the donation to FFTS reflects its work as a faith-based nonprofit organization whose mission is to serve as a Christ-like ministry committed to providing food and shelter, awakening hope and honoring dignity to those in need in Kershaw County.

“In 2010, Food for the Soul opened its doors as a day center serving lunch Tuesdays through Friday and offering showers and laundering to the underserved of Kershaw County,” Amyette pointed out. “Cold weather sheltering and crisis sheltering began not long after. In 2016, Food for the Soul opened its yearlong shelter for homeless and stranded travelers.”

Since opening its doors seven nights a week, FFTS has seen more than 400 men, women and children stay for a total of 14,486 nights. In 2017, FFTS purchased a 15-passenger van and concession trailer using two grants. On Monday, when the day center is closed, it carries cooked food to Bethune, which is served at the Women’s Center.

“Then they go to Cassatt where food is served at Refuge Baptist Church,” Amyette said.

Lunch and breakfast continues to be served in the Camden facility Tuesday-Friday. In 2018, FFTS served more than 24,000 meals, the most meals served in its history. During the past nine years, FFTS has served well more than 141,000 meals.

According to Amyette, CLASS formed in August 1987 as the first Shag Club in Kershaw County. CLASS is a 31-year member of the Association of Carolina Shag Clubs. CLASS’s primary mission is to promote and preserve the heritage of beach music and shag dancing which is the official S.C. State dance. CLASS also has a goal to give back to Kershaw County with its yearly CLASS Shag Blast fund raiser. This year, it had 231 guests, which included members from shag clubs from Columbia, Florence, Ocean Drive, Orangeburg, Palmetto, and Sumter in the house. Music was provided by 5 CLASS Club DJ’s, and included a 45-rpm vinyl hour.

“The dance floor was packed all night. We also had three pairs of junior shaggers who amazed us with their shag dance moves,” Amyette said.

CLASS meets each Thursday night from 7 to 10 p.m. in The Venue, 1020 Broad St. in downtown Camden, and includes fellowship, dancing, and music. CLASS offers beginner shag lessons from 7 to 7:30 p.m. during each meeting and can also provide information about advanced lessons.