Ingraham donates $25K to seniors group

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By Sam Hickman

 OCEAN ISLE BEACH — Overwhelmed by his own emotions, John Ingraham is grateful for the opportunity to help those people who can’t help themselves.

That’s why last Friday night, June 6, was so special for Ingraham as the Shallotte businessman donated $25,000 to Brunswick Senior Resources Inc. during a customer appreciation night at The View at Brick Landing Plantation.

Ingraham, owner of First Financial Education Centers LLC, presented the check to BSRI President and CEO Jim Fish as part of a “tropical celebration.”

“We wanted to be charitable,” Ingraham said. “This is a good way to do that, to help (BSRI). Tonight is about getting everyone together and having fun. If they have fun, they’ll make more donations (to Meals on Wheels).”

However, seeing people in desperate need of help in this community is something that’s not as much fun for Ingraham.

“To see people who can’t help themselves,” a teary-eyed Ingraham said as he fought back more tears. “To see those people, and to be able to help the way we have, it’s gratifying.

“I can’t really talk about it right now…I never thought I’d have the opportunity to help people. I never thought I’d be able to do this for anybody.”

Ingraham said it’s easy to take things in life for granted until you see someone who’s truly in need.

“We’re doing fine,” he said as he gestured toward the crowd of clients. “But not everybody’s doing fine. It’s wonderful to take care of those people who aren’t doing fine. That’s what this is all about. We want to do this more than once a year, maybe twice a year, to continue to help.”

Ingraham said this was the first customer appreciation night he’s had for donations given to BSRI. His generosity was not lost on Fish, who has led BSRI for more than two years. Fish has worked with BSRI since 2006.

“(Ingraham) gives a lot to local charities. This will feed a lot of seniors,” Fish said of the $25,000 donation. “He had sales promotions, workshops and other ways to raise $50, $709 there. It may not seem like a lot, but it adds up.”

Add up it did, as Ingraham presented Fish the $25,000 check in front of a capacity crowd inside the waterfront restaurant overlooking the fairway on Brick Landing’s golf course.

Ingraham said he hosted workshops for seniors that were centered on retirement planning.

“We’d have workshops to teach them about protecting their assets and developing strategies with money,” he said. “Then we’d play a game. If they got a question right, we’d give them money. If they got it wrong, they’d have to make a donation to BSRI and Meals on Wheels. It’s a fun thing. We’ll keep doing it as long as it’s working.”

Fish said the contribution by Ingraham will provide 8,000 meals to seniors in need in Brunswick County.

“That’s significant because we provide 100,000 meals annually,” Fish said.

BSRI provides homebound meals for seniors who don’t have the means to go out and get dinner on their own as well as congregate meals for group settings on site.

BSRI’s food program is a five-day operation, and the organization sends out food on Fridays to make sure it lasts seniors through the weekend.

“We consider ourselves very fortunate to be a partner with John Ingraham LLC, and we genuinely appreciate the philanthropic arm of his business,” Fish said. “When they meet with him about retirement planning, they know their donations, if they choose to make one, will go to help seniors, so it’s an ideal partnership. I wish this community had 100 people like (Ingraham) who would help seniors.”


Sam Hickman is a staff writer for the Beacon. Reach him at 754-6890 or shickman@brunswickbeacon.com.