Keys group says Crisis Ministries needs support now more than ever

By Ava

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- Hundreds of hand-decorated keys for $5 each are helping the homeless, one purchase at a time. A recent fundraising mark for Keys for Hope proved these young philanthropists are continuing to thrive.

"So far we've raised $40,000," said Sophia Lambert, a member of Keys for Hope.

That's $40,000 directly to Crisis Ministries an organization near to these girl's hearts.

{}"They provide health care services, food, a soup kitchen, shelter and hope to men, women and children staying at the homeless shelter," said Clara Pilley. {}{}

Clara Pilley said Keys for Hope started as an arts and crafts project with a long-term goal of ending homelessness. She said the plain keys are first donated then designed by kids and sold to the public. So far, more than 1,000 Charleston kids have participated.

"A key represents a home or a shelter, so we thought a key would unlock the future to many homeless people," said Key Maker Abby Hricik. {}{}

Last Monday, Crisis Ministries' CEO accused the Center's Chief Financial Officer, Carol Libby, of embezzling $11,000 worth of checks into a personal account. By the time Libby was arrested, that amount had ballooned to more than $96,000, according to court documents.

That money was meant for organizations that work with Crisis Ministries. For the Keys for Hope crew this was tough to comprehend.

"Its was surprising at first to hear that someone would take money from the homeless and that was just so shocking and just stunning to me that someone would do that," said Zoe Hricik.

Hricik said the Keys for Hope team is raising money for the new Crisis Ministries center. Hricik said none of the money they raised was taken.

"We saw that it really needed help and it really needed this brand new shelter its going to be so much better cleaner and safer. The old shelter right now is crumbling the ceiling is cracked it's just in terrible condition and no one should have to live like that," said Hricik. {}

Libby was charged with breach of trust with fraudulent intent, but the girls say there's no stopping them.

"We wont let them get in the way of us helping the homeless and thank goodness that Crisis Ministries is getting most if not all of their money back because they had the right insurance," said Hricik.{}

Keys for Hope already has a summer booked with key-making events that they hope will bring more awareness to homelessness. You can find their events calendar on their website

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