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      Exchange Club of Charleston hands out $800k to various charities

      CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- Thursday was an exciting day for numerous organizations around the Lowcountry as they received money from The Exchange Club of Charleston. Community Service Day is all about giving back the money that was raised at the Coastal Carolina Fair.

      Rides and food are just some of the things to experience at the Coastal Carolina Fair. The 11 day event in October and November is not only full of fun, but raises money for the community.

      "We were able to generate our profits from the gate proceeds and then sharing in the food activity, all the purchases and also from the Midway so it's really the entire success of the fair that allows us to share money," said Mike Jernigan, President of the Coastal Carolina Fair.

      $800,000 was raised in the 2013 fair and those funds were handed out Thursday to more than 90 organizations across the area.

      "We raise our funds and pass them out and they are able to go out and put them to work for the community," said El Rauton, current Charleston Exchange Club President. "It's beyond words..it is very fitting and we just love to do it. We have great fellowship all year preparing for the fair and what the club does and it is just a great feeling to bring it to this point."

      There are a variety of charities.. and each appreciates the help.

      "It is quite an honor. It's amazing because what this money will do. It will literally help hundreds of women for us literally, so I'm just getting chills thinking about it," said Matt Robinson, Charleston Fight for H.O.P.E.

      Charleston Fight for H.O.P.E. helps survivors of sexual assault and sexual violence put their life back together by offering various resources such as self-defense programs.

      Another organization that received some financial help is the Hope House in Mount Pleasant, which opens its doors to families who have loved ones in the hospital.

      "The timing could not be better. We are working toward a community outreach project hoping to open us another hope house somewhere closer to the area hospitals," said Beth Moore, director of Hope House.

      But the Exchange Club couldn't be as generous without its members and the support of the community.

      "It's very important that the community support the fair because that is how we are able to contribute back so it really is full circle and we have got a long tradition of success with the fair and it's a family-oriented event," said Jernigan.

      The Exchange Club is already looking forward to this year's Coastal Carolina Fair.

      The event runs Oct. 30 to Nov. 9.

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