|Festival benefits HCC
by Marina Fleming
Some volunteers for the Hollings Cancer Center possess a special talent few people know about. They are skilled oyster dancers.
Cancer Center’s development intern Amanda Tissue, HCC volunteer Sarah
Williams, and Aparna Choudhury, grants assistant at HCC, help serve more
than 5,000 cups of cocktail sauce.
Just ask Aparna Choudhury, the grants assistant for the Clinical Trials
Office at HCC, who was one of the volunteers that manned the 27th
Annual Lowcountry Oyster Festival at Boone Hall Plantation last month.
She said it was a special dance the volunteers had to do when the
oysters were running low and new supplies were needed. It was one of
many skills the nearly 40 volunteers used as they fed the masses.
Whether it was serving up cocktail sauce or pushing thousands of pounds
of oyster shells, the volunteers helped the festival be a huge success.
Choudhury said that participating in the oyster roast was a nice way to
give back and be part of the experience. “The Greater Charleston
Restaurant Association makes it so easy to volunteer,” she said. “They
take care of their volunteers and promote a sense of fun.”
In 1995, HCC board member Phyllis F. Shaffer initiated a partnership
with GRCA, the main sponsor of the Lowcountry Oyster Festival, and with
the Taste of Charleston. Since then, HCC has received a portion of both
events’ ticket sales.
volunteer packs steamed oysters to distribute to guests at the
Lowcountry Oyster Festival. The festival marks the 15th year that HCC
has been a beneficiary of the event.
The 2010 oyster festival marked the 15th year that HCC has been a
beneficiary of the event, with the association having donated almost
$80,000 to HCC since that partnership began. The funds benefit HCC
patients through research, education and outreach programs and
services. In appreciation of the GRCA’s generosity, HCC provides
volunteers each year to help out with the event, said Shaffer.
Volunteers helped with everything from working the steamers that
prepared the 65,000 pounds of oysters to distributing bracelets for
identification checks. The volunteers also are needed to help with the
crowds. The festival averages around 11,000 guests yearly and claims
the title of being one of the “top 20 events in the Southeast” by the
Southeastern Tourism Society.
Shaffer said that the partnership would not be what it is today without
the committed volunteers. “We have about 10-12 volunteers that have
been out there every year for the past 17 years,” she said.
“It has been a wonderful marriage between the Greater Charleston
Restaurant Association and Hollings,” said Shaffer. “Working with
Hollings has given the restaurant community a great concern for our
organization, and they’ve been a tremendous help over the years.”
Friday, Feb. 12, 2010